The Power of Negative Thinking.
When was the last time you decided to prepare yourself , attempt something or even script what you want to say, while at the same time giving thought to a premonition or feeling that whatever you do or say is doomed to fail anyway.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
Now think back to the last time you were doing or planning something where you became very aware in the back of your mind that your idea was destined for failure . . . . Ok?
Did you notice something in hindsight? In all probability your predictive thoughts had completely railroaded what you were attempting to achieve in the first place, but you carried on anyway.
Do you remember getting a bit anxious and struggling somewhat to relax.
Did your “theme of thought” make you wish you could find a tactic that would prevent your idea from being rejected before you got to the part where you explained why your idea was a good idea?
Did you wonder why having a good idea or even a perfect solution to an immediate problem, does not always guarantee getting a friendly or even courteous hearing let alone take up? Sometimes even the most obvious or perfect solution simply won’t be implemented or even considered.
So what do you do when those who need to be won over about your idea are not even prepared to acknowledge your existence? Why is it so much of a struggle sometimes?
Some experts in the field of communication loudly state that there is no such thing as a resistive spouse / client / parent / child etc. Well they are WRONG. Most of us who live in the real world know that there are people out there who are “resistive with intent”. If you have ever dealt with a sceptic, or a “mood hoover”, who sucks the very life out of the room, or the terminally negative person who “knows that life is hard” you will know that in situations like these it is time to get creative.
So, how do you handle this breed of people? The answer rests in your original negative thinking pattern. As long as your idea is feasible and not a pile of “moo-poo” , here are some tactics you can use.
1) My favourite. This is a truly fun tactic which I call “The Negator flip-flop”, which I am sure you will love. (You will need to leave your ego at home for this one too). You will discover it is most effective when speaking with sceptics or people who appear to have closed their minds to anything you, or anyone else says.
NOTE:- It is not a good idea to use this tactic and tactic #3 when communicating with people who are in a receptive state of mind – because you run the risk of putting them off.
Step 1) Ask the question right up front “what is wrong with this proposal / idea / concept / solution etc . . . . . . . ?”
Step 2) State your proposal / idea / concept / solution etc.
Step 3) Ask! “throw me a line” , “. . . . . how would you make this proposal / idea / concept / solution etc. acceptable to others.” and then listen intently.
Who knows they might even give you a better answer than you had in the first place.
2) Inoculate! Start your proposal with “I am not ready to reject this yet quite yet . . . [Pause] . . I don’t know about you? How about you?” as a way of stimulating the provision of some mental wiggle room.
3) Or you can try this tactic I read about from the amazing Shelle Rose Charvet who proposes what she calls a “double negative loop” where you inform your listeners that you have an idea or suggestion that you have a sneaking suspicion is “not entirely useless” AND that your proposal “might just not fail entirely”. Her reasoning or hypothesis here is to propose the fact that you have an idea, then judge it yourself by using two negatives in a row – i.e. a double negative becomes a positive – or at the very least it is not written off as completely negative.
4) Make them curious! Richard Bandler taught me that a great way to approach any “difficult conversation” is to create or elicit a sense or curiosity in the listener.