When I was selling timeshare in the late 80’s and early 90’s we had a procedure called the “Coffee Grabber” . It was psychologically designed to add the powerful emotion of curiosity, raise interest levels and get the prospects minds thinking about holiday’s.
It went like something like this “Now while I go to get your coffee John and Mary, could you do me a small favour? I would like you to write down your top dream destinations you would go to in the world in the next 7 to 10 years, if money was no object. And when I get back, I will show you how to get there at a fraction of the cost…”
Off we would trot to the kitchen to get our clients coffee. When we got to the kitchen some reps, usually the newbies, would start moaning about their couple, and how they were ‘never going to buy’ or ‘how miserable they were’ or ‘how they had already been on 12 presentations and not bought’ and us more experienced, hard-lined closers would tell them to shut up and get out of our faces.
It was actually a lot stronger than this and far less polite. But I don’t swear in my blogs so I will let you use your own imagination.
We wouldn’t want to be negged out by such comments…’Negativity spreads’ our sales managers always taught us. And they were right. Listening to such comments, even for the great sales reps (Like me, 🙂 ), could put a dampener on your own presentation.
Now this is verbal negativity and you already know that it can be emotionally draining around those people who do it on a constant basis. You already know you it’s not great to hang around with people who are verbally negative.
But seeing as 90% of the people think negatively around 86% of the time (According to research I read somewhere), should we therefore, be very careful who we hang around with on a constant basis?
And what about those people who pretend to be positive on the outside, but their actions show that they are really negative on the inside, should we avoid associates and friends like that? And what about husbands and wives and partners and family? Should we not hang around with them? Should we leave them?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, for friends and associates. And to explain why, I need to briefly explain about Mirror Neurons. After that I will give you my take on avoiding negative family members or what to do about a negative partner.
As my regular readers know, I like to keep think things simpler. So I am not going to delve into the intricate workings of the mind that I read about, in this blog. On my seminars I give a more detailed look at how and why mirror neurons work and affect us. But this is not a seminar. If you want a more in depth take on this topic, can I suggest Google?
These brain cells were accidentally, but brilliantly discovered in the 1990’s by an Italian neurophysiologist called Dr. Rizzolatti while studying movements in monkeys. The accidental discovery happened when one of the researchers noticed that monkey’s brain cells (Neurons) fired when one of the researchers reached for food. The same cells fired in the monkey as when the monkey was reaching food.
In other words, the monkey’s brain was performing the same action as if it was doing the action itself.
Mirror Neurons don’t just code the actions they see, but they interpret the intention behind the action
To give you more examples, as this is important, if I was to stand in front of you (at my seminar I do this) and throw my hand in the air, your mirror neurons will copy the same action; the cells will, as they say, ‘fire’ in your brain exactly as if you had physically thrown your hand in the air.
If you watch your favourite sport on TV, what do you feel like doing right after this? Like most people, you probably want to go and play. Or at least the feeling is there depending on your fitness levels. I know when I was younger this always happened. I would run outside and play football (soccer) right after a match. Why? Because my mirror neurons had been firing as if I have been playing football. My brain was performing all the same actions as I watched. It was as if I was actually playing football.
So this is why you can feel down when you have been around someone who is down. Their facial expressions and bodily actions, (no matter how imperceptible you may think they are, your subconscious mind reads them all, in my opinion) are being repeated inside your brain.
In other words and inline with keeping this simpler, your brain is sending signals to other parts of your brain that you must be down. It is acting ‘as if’. It is reading the intention behind the action.
Up until this point (The early 90’s, not so long ago) scientists believed we used logical thinking processes to interpret and predict other people’s behaviour. So we would have to think and actively look for the signs that somebody was feeling down for example. We now know that this is not so. Mirror neurons tell us that we feel the actions being performed – and the intentions behind those actions – automatically – or on a subconscious level.
What I also think…
I believe that our subconscious mind is a perfect facial reader and the best body language expert. As you may know, the body cannot hide internal thoughts.
So if someone is feeling or thinking negative, peeved off, depressed or just down, even though their words may not be fully describing how they really feel, their facial expressions and body language will be.
Your subconscious mind picks up on these almost invisible signals.
Your mirror neurons will then quite literally fire ‘as if’. This is why you can feel depressed, peeved off or down when you have been in their company too long. It is why counsellors have to be counselled too; it is not just because they have been hearing so many problems. Their mirror neurons have been firing ‘as if’.
This is why there is a lot of talk today about hanging around with people who have what you want. Or, “being in the energy orbit of those who have got what you want, and out of the energy orbit of those who don’t have what you want” as my great friend, self-made multi-millionaire and #1 bestselling author Marco Robinson tells his audience on his famous Financial Freedom seminars.
They also ‘Fire’ and react when you are in the environment
It is understood that these mirror neurons also react and adapt you to your environment. So if you want to be rich for example, one of the things you can do, according to David Brooks in his wonderful book about the study of the subconscious mind and its impact in our lives called, ‘The Social Animal’ explains, “…is to go and live in the rich area of town and let your mirror neurons do the work for you naturally…’
Be very mindful of who you hang around with on a consistent basis. It can be good or bad for your results in life depending on who you choose
So this is why it is important – critical even – not to be in the consistent energy orbit of people who are always down, moaning about life, or how success is not for them, money is evil, or all is lost and hopeless for people ‘like us’. You know the type I mean, right?
I remember when I was 27 and decided I wanted to make something of myself, I made a difficult, conscious choice to leave my mates. They weren’t ambitious at all and they wanted to carry on fighting and drinking week in and week out, like I had been doing. I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted to make good money, get a nice car and experience more in my life.
Looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made on my self-improvement journey.
What about family members or husbands and wives?
I get asked this question at seminars when I cover this topic.”Are you suggesting that I leave my wife because she is negative” Or, “Are you saying I should never visit my sister again?”
My answer to this is usually something like, “I give you information. How you choose to use that information is up to you. If what you are doing now is getting you the results you desire discard what I tell you. If you aren’t getting the results you want, and you aren’t already in the process of changing, something, somewhere has to change”
I then go on to say that I know wives who have left husbands who were extremely negative and have blossomed once they have done so. And vice versa of course. But again, that is individual choice.
I have also known positivity to overcome negativity, in time. It takes effort mind you and you have to be extra positive if that makes sense. But your actions can have an effect on others, if you persist. It must be your choice if you stay or leave them. Making that choice is subject for another blog.
I remember when I was on my quest to change and I was in sales, I had to avoid a very close family member for almost 12 months. That hurt a great deal. They meant well, but every time I saw them they would tell me how bad the economy was doing, how can people afford to spend money on holidays these days and all such other negative stuff.
I was what you could call positively fragile at the time and certainly hadn’t learned how to control my thoughts, so I made the choice not to be around them anywhere near as much as I used to. Looking back at that experience, I still think it was better for me at that time to make that choice and take that action.
Besides, it put me in a better position to help that family member more, later in life.
I am very careful and mindful of who I hang around with on a constant basis. Personally, I would rather be on my own than in the company of negative thinking people.
Just try not to underestimate the influence other people are having on your life and especially your results in life. In can be critical to your success. Try and stick to like-minded people. Join a group of like minded folk, people who share the same interests and passion for life as you do.
I also found, on my journey, that once you make that conscious choice to change or to grow, you will naturally drift away from those who don’t want what you want and gravitate towards those that do. However, you may want to make it a conscious choice as to who you hang around with now rather than later.
And as for leaving a negative partner…if they aren’t willing to walk the same journey in growth as you do…well, I will leave that choice entirely up to you.
NOTE: I am soon to be launching probably the most affordable coaching membership site and community very soon. If you want to be an early adapter and join other like-minded folk then register here and I will give you the even lower crazy prices when I launch.