Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No... we need to learn to say Yes!

Ít's amazing to consider that a small, two-letter word has such control over the way in which we view ourselves and the world, but the word 'NO' is a significant contributor to our failure to achieve as much in our lives as we are capable of and desire.  Research shows us that the average child has heard the word 'no' over 40,000 times by the time they reach the age of 5.  Now... multiply this by the number of times that a child would likely have said no to themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, and we are looking at one of the strongest and most heavily reinforced messages...period.

I recognise that we use the word no with children in an effort to protect them.  'No, don't touch that, it's hot' is not designed to undermine their self-esteem but rather, to prevent them from a potentially nasty burn.  It's a direction given out of love and caring.  However, those no's add up creating, very early in our lives, an over-developed 'protective's ubconscious self.

No... don't take that job, you might fail
No... don't do that, people might laugh
No... don't try that, you might get hurt

95% of our waking hours are spent on autopilot - allowing our subconscious mind to direct us.  Our autopilot does serve a useful purpose for us, preventing us from having to consciously think about everything that we are doing.  We don't have to think about breathing, our subconscious mind takes care of ensuring that we continue to do so.  We don't have to think about 'how' to make our muscles work together to allow us to run, we just decide to run and our subconscious takes care of the rest.  Our subconscious mind then is constantly working and is never at rest.

There are elements of the programming our autopilot has received though, that do not work for us as effectively as others.  Certainly, the impact of all of those No's adds up and has our subconscious mind making choices for us that prove limiting in the long-run, often preventing us from achieving and doing everything that we might.  Instead, we need to reprogram some of our autopilot's scripts, shift our patterns of thinking, to open up new choices and paths.

To start that reprogramming process... refuse to say 'No' for an entire day.  This does not mean that you need to agree to everything anyone else suggests, but it does mean you must find an alternative to 'No'.  For example...

  • ... I would prefer something else... instead of No, I don't want it
  • ... Please do 'X' ... instead of No, that's wrong
  • ... 'X' is more preferable... instead of No, I don't like that
  • ... I am unable to... instead of No, not gonna
Keep a list of how many times you slip up over the day (if indeed you do!).  A simple little checkmark on a piece of paper will do, using one side of the page to record the number of  'No's' used and the other side to record each 'Yes'.  You might be surprised by the final number of each, especially since you were trying to avoid saying No.  The one-day experiment goes well?  Try it for a week, then try it for a month!

Think you can?  (hope you said... YES!)

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