Don’t Think About a Pink Elephant

What image do you have in your mind right now? A pink elephant, right? But I told you not to think about a pink elephant!

The human brain cannot NOT think about something…

What image do you have in your mind right now? A pink elephant, right? But I told you not to think about a pink elephant!

The human brain cannot NOT think about something. When told, “Don’t pick on your sister,” what do you think the brain of the child is actually focused on? Because the brain doesn’t register the word “don’t” very well, the child’s mind tends to hear, “pick on sister.” And you wondered why Billy would continue to pick on his sister, even though you told him not to.

For you parents, try it. Rather than telling your child what not to do, tell them what to do. Instead of, “Don’t pick on your sister,” say, “Billy, please move into the other room.” Give Billy’s brain something positive to focus on, not something it shouldn’t do.

When managing people, tell them what you want them to do, and not what you don’t want them to do. Tell them what you expect of them, tell them what outcome you want, tell them how you want them to perform.

Now, don’t think about that pink elephant! Ooops… I mean think about a blue elephant.

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