Focusing on the Positive

I have had a couple lengthy conversations with some friends (aka anyone who will listen to me) about training and communication.

In these conversations I’ve stated that we as humans/trainers/spouses/coworkers would be exponentially better communicators, improve our relationships, and attract more positive energy if we simply communicated in similar fashion as we do our animals- that is, direct (rather than passive) and positive (rather than negative). For instance, going into a room and exclaiming “is there a reason the lights are on?” is very passive. Of course there’s a reason! Even if that reason is someone forgot to turn them off. But the statement doesn’t get you what you want. Neither does negative statements. I don’t mean “good” versus “bad”. I mean using negative statements. “Don’t put the lamp there”. Okay. So, imagine if you were an animal being told not to do something. You can’t speak back and ask what the trainer DOES want, so you have to guess. And if you get it wrong again, you’ll likely become hesitant to do anything in fear of doing it wrong. A person may simply ask where you’d like the lamp, but they may also give up quickly and make you put the lamp up yourself. So, by speaking directly and positively, you are not only giving clear directions to whomever you are speaking to, but you’re a lot more likely to get what you want done. A positive direct statement would be “please set the lamp on the corner table”.

Many trainers around the world are really starting to put an emphasis on eliminating the word “no” from our communications with animals and other persons. And I have to agree with them.
But it is a little more than just communication. There’s the consequences as well. Most trainers nowadays already focus on the positive, in other words, ignore the behaviors undesired and reward the behaviors we do want.

Think about how much more pleasant life would be if we treated each other with the same mentality! Rather than hearing complaint after complaint or bitching about no one else doing the work, what if we said thank you and took the time to notice one another’s efforts? Maybe I’m speaking just for myself, but I’m way more likely to continue to help out someone who says thank you, even for the small things, and maybe even try to do more in order to receive their appreciation.

And we can apply these principles to almost any situation or scenario.

Take today. Hot yoga take two (because shame on me, I’m an idiot who thrives on torture). Yes, it was horrible. I had to sit down for at least a third of the class. I almost passed out but I ended up laying down on my mat and out my towel over my eyes and just focused on breathing in and out. Class finally ended and I grabbed my may and empty water bottle and got out of there as fast as possible thinking “never again! I hate Michele for convincing me to try hot yoga again! This is tortured hell”. But by the time I got to the locker room and grabbed my change of clothes, I was feeling better. And I don’t mean, relief from leaving the room better, I mean revitalized, peaceful, calm, just overall wonderful. I felt BETTER!

So instead of writing off hot yoga, I got to thinking. Yeah, maybe the movements are too much for me for an entire class. What about a third of the class? And I don’t mean leave after a third of the class. I mean do the work and poses for the third of class and then spend the rest of class laying on your may with a towel over your eyes. Go to sleep for all I care. Like a Native American sweat lodge. They used those the same way people feel hot yoga helps detoxify. Would I still feel good afterward?

I’m willing to try. Monday morning. I’ll be dripping my sweaty negativity away. Because I like focusing on the positive. –

feeling positive at Hot Yoga Inc.