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Showing posts from February, 2021

The importance of positive instructions

  "Don't touch the stove, it's hot." "Don't run in to the road, there are cars." "Don't mess this up." "Don't trip as you walk down the aisle with everyone watching." We have a bias for the negative. Partly it is your brain trying to keep you alive. The amygdala has two thirds of its neurons wired for negative inputs. Studies have found that people are more likely to make a decision based on avoiding something bad than to get something good. It is also partly social conditioning too. All our lives we hear negatives. Our parents tell us not to touch the stove. Our teachers tell us not to talk in class. Our bosses tell us not to be late. Here is the problem - after being told "don't do that" people don't actually know what they should do. You can't do a "don't." Telling someone "don't" isn't actually helpful. It is actually unclear. So what can you do? My first suggestion wou