Negation and Success

Fun tidbit:

The subconscious mind does not recognize negation. When engaged in activities that make us nervous, we oftentimes will rally ourselves by identifying our feared outcome and working against it. For example, someone playing golf might think, "Okay, don't miss the ball. Don't miss the ball."

What the subconscious mind hears: "Miss the ball."

So, if you want to encourage yourself to succeed, you have to always think of it in positive terms. This, I guess, is the power of positive thinking. Don't think,"Don't miss the ball." Think, "Hit the ball!"


  1. When I'm nervous I get the giggles, when I'm really nervous I start laughing hysterically. I can't begin to tell you how much trouble this trait has gotten me into. ;-)

  2. I'm with you, mostly. The same tenet is used in headline writing. (Say "Yankees regret the loss" instead of "Yankees not happy with loss." That's a lame example, but you get the idea.)

    But, to take the first line of your post, what would you say otherwise? "The subconscious recognizes affirmation"? That doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't recognize negation.

    Which leads me to: Does the subconscious then recognize double negation?

    Oh, dear, I wasn't cut out for this brain science stuff.

  3. I've used a similar technique in trying to improve various things I do, most notably darts and pool. If missed a shot, I used to rebuke myself "don't miss, you shouldn't miss that," etc. Now I say "Hit what you're aiming at, you can hit [whatever the target is], etc." It helps some.