This and That


Have you noticed how a small change in language can make a significant difference to attitudes? I’ve been musing on this and that.  Literally.  ‘This’ and ‘that’. And what I’ve noticed…

I can change my attitude to a task by shifting between ‘this’ and ‘that’.

Try it:

Pick something from your ‘To do’ list.  Anything at all.  Some filing, an email to write, a call to make, a report to write or anything else.

Say to yourself, “I must do that filing/email/call/report” and notice your attitude to the task.

Say to yourself, “I must do this filing/email/call/report” and notice your attitude again.

Is it different?  Mine usually is!

You see, for most people, ‘this’ creates an associated representation of the task.  That means that you see it in your mind’s eye as being close to you, part of you.

In contrast, ‘that’ creates a dissociated image – the task is not connected to you.  For most people it’s much easier to ignore ‘that’ than to ignore ‘this’. For you and I to motivate ourselves to do a task, it helps if it’s ‘this’ task rather than ‘that’ task.

But what about goals?

There is a ‘rule of thumb’ in NLP:  Present state associated, desired state dissociated. We keep our desired outcomes dissociated to create tension, and hence motivation, between where we are and where we want to be.  ‘That’ goal is more motivating than ‘this’ goal.  ‘That’ goal gives you and I something to work for.

And ‘this’ task is the way to get started.

It’s so simple.  And easy to use for yourself or when you coach someone else.  I’d love to hear about your experiences of this and that.

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