Use the Positive Opposite

Use the Positive Opposite

by elainesuess

I was golfing the other day and was within view of the green (at last!). However, with all the rain, the bunker had become a lake.

Either way, there was an obstacle in my way, and I needed to get past it to the green!

I reached into my golf bag and put my hand on my trusty pitching wedge and pulled it out. I figured this was going to be the winning club that helped me reach my destination. With club in hand, I stepped away from the cart.

I took a look at the green, looked at the “lake,” and stepped up to address my golf ball.

Talking To Myself

Now, here’s a question for you – what would you have been thinking as you stood next to the ball?



Here are a few choices to try on for size:

  1. Don’t go in that lake
  2. Okay, Topflite, you’re going into the cup!
  3. Stay to the right of that water!
  4. Anywhere on the green, and you’re a winner.
  5. Man it’s hot. Time for a beer.

Which one did you choose, or did your ring up a “none of the above?”

And why am I even asking about the discussion between you and your golf ball? 

Choose Wisely

The thing is, we have obstacles in front of us every day, so this scenario can be pretty close to our daily life, with our daily challenges. Your answer here is important!

We know through research that the brain works best when we tell it what to do, not what not to do. (Got that?)  So, any communication that focuses on how to best move forward is usually more helpful than communication like “don’t hit it in that lake/bunker” (the last thing I hear is: hit it in the lake), or even “don’t mess this deal up” (the last thing I hear is: mess this deal up).

Switch to the Positive Opposite

Next time you’re in a situation where there’s a choice or an obstacle, focus on what to do rather than what not to do. I often call this switching to the positive opposite.

When you can focus on what you want to accomplish, on what you want to do, your brain will likely follow your commands more quickly and more successfully. The ball will go onto the green, not in the bunker.

You can get to the reward after the round, even more successfully, by switching to the positive opposite! 

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