Have you ever encountered, in yourself or others, (usually easier in others and hard to see these things in our own behaviors) the tendency to be sure about something all the time and every time?
For example, “He is always angry with me.” Or, “She makes me depressed every time we meet.” How about, “John is never kind to anybody.” Really? He is never kind? Never kind to anyone?
Rarely, is the absolute true. It is almost always (get it) an exaggeration that serves no useful purpose and makes positive relationships or even slight improvements in behavior harder rather than easier.
It can be quite useful, therefore (but not every time) to challenge the speaker’s use of the negative absolute expression.
How can you do this without antagonism? Ask questions that are proven to work. That break these patterns and allow for changes in behavior and attitude in business or in your personal life.
“Does he really make you angry every time?” “Well, not every time.”
You see, when you get that response, you have broken that negative pattern and you are now allowing for improvement in attitude and/or behavior.
“I forget to do my homework every time.” “Really. Every time?” (Note: Tone of voice is important here.)
“Well, not every time. But sometimes I do forget.” “I see. So how could you remember more often and what would happen if you did it?” That language pattern is going to get things moving in the right direction.
If you couple these questions with another magical language pattern – “Can you think of any other reason that he or she might be behaving that way?” You can really get behavioral change for the better.
More on that to follow.
Photo Credit: Jolante