A few weeks ago a friend and former client posted a very thoughtful comment on my NLP blog in response to an article I wrote titled “Brainwashing vs. Influence.”
Because that comment seems so “on target” and relevant I figured it would be worth writing an entire article in response to the issues raised in the comment.
Just so we can all be on the same page, here is a brief excerpt of the comment with my article following below:
“Your article really hit a nerve…. Here’s a question for you? Why is it that bad attitudes are so contagious? Any nlp wisdom for that one?
If you are around negative people and can’t get away from them (i.e. you share the same office, etc.), what can you do? Why are bad attitudes so contagious?“
The simplest answer is: Thoughts have an energetic frequency.
Like sound vibrations, they broadcast outward and affect other fields. Like a contagious rhythm your energy field will begin to pick up the vibration and start to entrain to it.
For instance, in a drumming circle if someone is really off the rhythm it will pull everyone else off. UNLESS. The main group of drummers listen to each other and not to the out of rhythm one. In this case the more powerful and plentiful rhythm will overwhelm and drown out the “negative” one.
If there is a group of twenty really bad drummers and one really good drummer he will be taken down to their frequency. He may have to stop and take his drum and get out of there.
If you are around negative people and can’t get away from them (i.e. you share the same office, etc.), what can you do?
7 Ways for Dealing with Negativity
Other than staying away from negative people there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the viral power of negative thoughts spewing from the world around you. Most of them use the power you have to manage your own thoughts:
1. Imagine a powerful force field around yourself that “Zaps” negative external thoughts like a bug zapper.
2. Imagine yourself big and huge and powerful like the “Jolly Green Giant” waaaaay up above the little “chirps” of negative voices down below you. It also helps to imagine the negative people to be like whiny little children. You don’t hold it against kids that they can get whiny. But you also don’t tolerate it.
3. Chant inside your own mind: “Why does it work out better than I can possibly imagine.” also put it in 2nd and 3rd person: “Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine?” and “Why Does it work out better than they can possibly imagine?”
4. In some cases you may need to challenge them. I would suggest that instead of confrontation, you use the Modern Jedi NLP techniques of “Positive Negatives”. Here’s an example: “I’m not suggesting that you are really being negative, but it seems to me that someone as intelligent as you are could notice some positive aspects about that situation that might put it into perspective…” This statement “calls” them on their negativity and also compliments and challenges them all at the same time.
5. Another possible solution is to put your parents to work! If they have nothing better to do than sit around watching TV give them a job. Teach them how to do some of the things that you need help with in the office. Engage them to help with the grand kids. If they feel needed and have something vital to contribute they may make a shift.
6. For people who you have to share an office with or who are on a team with you, but who you have no managerial responsibility, be very careful. In a meeting where new ideas are being offered, the “devils advocate” types will kill innovation if they are allowed in too soon. However, they can envision what can go wrong with something, so later on they can be an asset in de-bugging an idea or process.
7. Ultimately, we always have a choice. If you are feeling stuck in a molasses like goo of negativity at work or at home you may have to leave. I know that may sound extreme but it may be necessary to protect yourself or give yourself some time to get stronger.
To sum it all up:
First: You have to manage and take charge of what you can control. Your own mind. Turn up your inner positive volume and use the power of your imagination to turn the negative voices down.
Second: Look for ways and resources that will enable you to either distract the negative people or to use their negativity in a positive way. But again, you have to be in charge of it. Lead them away from negativity and towards positivity. In some cases you might have to lay out the rules.
Third: If all else fails? Get the hell away from them! 😮 ) Life is too short to allow other people to drag you down to their level.