How many times an hour/ day/week do you give an instruction or comment that starts with the word “don’t”?

Don’t forget to…..
Don’t eat the…..
Don’t be late
Don’t cry
Don’t you dare laugh when I’m telling you off
Don’t stand on……

Great messages but they are all about what not to do… and actually when you think about them now… get you thinking and indeed picturing the very thing the statement says it doesn’t want you to do… Being told not to laugh only makes your laugh more – regardless of the situation.

And so it is with life….

If we think more about what we don’t want we often see ourselves doing more of it and like an obedient SAT Nav our brain takes it as a message that it’s what we do want… after all we keep thinking about it a lot as well as adding in heaps of emotions, and so we seem to get more of it.

Looking at the first list, how about….

Please remember to…..
Have the…..
Be on time
Keep smiling

Being more aware of all the times people tell you what they don’t want you to do and the times you tell them what you don’t want them to do, will really help your awareness of what language is being used.

Telling people exactly what you want will have greater benefits. What would be the difference in results if this was done regularly and consistently? Think about this in terms of the teams, departments, meetings, organisational messages and culture.

Thinking about it in relation to your day to day life; ask yourself how clear are you on what you DO want?

And what would happen if you were even clearer now?


A guest post authored by the late David Jessop, The Outsourcing Way Founding Resident Expert

A Life and Success Coach between 2002-2019, Dave worked in the Corporate world, with SMEs, in the Education Sector and with a range of private clients.