I have recently joined two special interest groups on Facebook. Both are to do with a rare Myers-Briggs psychological profile I share: INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving). We make up just 4% of the population, so we can easily feel like outsiders.
With a sense of isolation, it is tempting to stray too often into negative territory - being clear on what we don't want rather than thinking of what we do want. A post on one of the sites got me thinking about how to structure my goals in a way that would help.
I use a mnemonic called P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. to set powerful outcomes! For this blog, I just wanted to share the first letter's meaning: P for Positive.
It seems our minds work better when we focus on a positive goal rather than a negative goal. This is because a negative goal pulls our attention towards the very thing we don't want.
If I ask you, just for a few seconds, not to think about Santa Claus wearing ballet shoes...
...my hope is that you couldn't help but think about this very thing!
So, if my goal (either formally or informally) is NOT to do something, my brain will focus on what it will be like to do that thing. For example, if I wish to NOT be so irritable – my brain will be actively scanning for times when I am irritable. If I wish I didn't feel so anxious all the time – my brain scans for signs of me being anxious.
One question can turn this natural psychological tendency around so that your brain may be a better servant. The question is: what would you rather have?
I can answer these in a heartbeat: I want to be calm and relaxed; I want to be at peace and have hope.
If you find yourself drawn to thinking about what you don't want, flip this instantly with the question: what would I rather have? Then you can invest your energy wisely, moving towards more of what you prefer.
A Moodscope member.
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