You know how this works: someone suggests that you’re smart, and you tend to do better on tests. While someone else can imply that you look like you’re gaining weight and all of a sudden you catch yourself craving junk food that you have desired in years.
Scientists have shown that suggestions both obvious and subtle influence our behavior, choices and outcomes. Advertisers count on it. The power of suggestion impacts how quickly we heal, how successful we are, how and what we buy and how we feel about our lives.
These little worms of thought are powerful – so it’s time that we learn how to use them for our greatest benefit.
Here are four ways to harness the power of suggestion.
1. Become conscious. This is good advice for just about anything. But as is with so many things, awareness is required to help us identify the suggestions that are coming our way in the first place. If you are not aware of the messages you’re sending or receiving from others it’s tough to counteract what you hear or to make conscious choices to adopt more positive scenarios. Tune into what’s going on around you. Get curious about it and the suggestions that are influencing you will be easier to spot. Also, notice what you hear or see the next time you decide to do something. Notice the response and pay attention to those suggestions that are most helpful.
When I quit my job to become a full-time writer, many people suggested that it wasn’t a good idea. I heard them, but I chose not to believe them. Instead, I focused on planning and preparation and paid attention to those internal and external indicators that reminded me that plenty of people succeed as writers. You can suggest your own success or sabotage it. Become conscious to which you are choosing.
2. Find the believing eyes. Intuitive and teacher Sonia Choquette talks of “believing eyes.” These are the people that believe in you and your dream no matter what it is.
This is big-time important when it comes to the power of suggestion. Whenever possible, surround yourself with encouraging and supportive people. Psychologists have shown that we are influenced by both deliberate and non-deliberate suggestions. How people talk to us, their gestures and tone and implications matter just like their words. Positive influence begets positive suggestions.
Observing people or doing things that make them feel important or special is also a form of suggestion and can cause people to work harder or longer on any task. Think about whom you spend time with, and make sure that they are bringing good energy – that alone will create positive outcomes in your life. Think too, about how your behavior is suggestive. When you are parenting or otherwise relating to others, you are also making deliberate or non-deliberate suggestions that can build-up and inspire people.
3. Maintain a flexible mindset. When we are locked into expectation, we are limited by only one perspective. Instead, remain open to any outcome and when suggestions or influences come into your life choose only those that are helpful. We are bombarded with plenty of negativity – and in some cases they are an aspect of the real-world experience. But, so are the positive angles to any situation. There are always multiple views – all of which can be true. So be open, flexible, able to look at all sides of the situation and then choose those that are most helpful to focus on.
4. Understand that the power of suggestion is always working. Another way to tap into this potential is just simply to remember that the power of suggestion is always working. If you expect something to happen – if someone or something suggests to you a specific outcome – your expectations of that outcome play a major role in its occurrence. The expectation or suggestion of something changes your behavior (often unconsciously) and your responses to help bring into reality the outcome you are expecting.
Knowing this then, don’t expect anything less than the best and know that you are capable of handling all the goodness that shows up.