The Power Of Suggestion

Last updated 15 May 2016 . 4 min read

“Oh! That might hurt”, “test was really difficult”, “impossible to do that”, “you won’t like it” … these are just a few of many statements we often hear either before a procedure or a test. Once we hear this, our mind starts playing on these words and follows what had exactly been 'suggested.' Wikipedia defines “Suggestion” as a psychological process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of another.

If you think you are having a bad day then in some sense it does become true. If you are too apprehensive about a new job and someone suggests that the boss is little difficult then you might think of struggling with the job. In this case you will have more negative feelings rather than positive outcomes for your job.

As per the research by Maryanne Garry, Robert Michael, and Irving Kirsch, if a suggestion is given deliberately then it can affect how a person responds to medical procedures, or even how they perform in a test and behave in difficult situations. They state that the reason is mostly attributed to ‘response expectancies’ or the manner in which we expect our response to occur in a given situation. This also means that the way we foresee our situation, the response depends on it or in simpler words when we want something to happen then our thoughts, reactions and behaviours contribute towards the expectation that we want.

A very simple example is that of an interview. Many of us have butterflies in our stomach along with anxiety and apprehensions regarding how the interview will go. So if you think that you will excel in the interview then you are more likely to perform well. In the same manner if you think you swim well then you will train yourself to do the same for better results.

Here are simple ways for you to use the power of suggestion in order to create the experiences you want:

  • Tune the moment – Someone once told me to be aware of what is coming my way. This was good advice as becoming aware helps us identify the suggestions that might be coming our way. If one is not aware of the messages sent and received from others then it is difficult to prevent negative suggestions. The key is thus to tune in the moment. Being curious enables us to spot a positive suggestion with ease.
  • Generate a network – Recognize the people who believe in you and stay close to them. The way people talk to us, their tone, gestures, body language and suggestions matter to each one of us. So positive people bring out the positive and negative influence begets negative suggestion.
  • Flexible thinking – If we are not open to a flexible mindset then you take failure more personally with little or no scope of improvement. It is always better to remain open to any result and when influences and suggestions come our way it becomes easier to consider those which take us closer to the goals. A flexible mindset leads to continuous growth, learning and positivity.
  • Power of suggestion works – If you want something to happen, or if someone suggests you something, then your expectations towards the outcome play a major role for it to occur. The suggestion or expectation together or alone often unconsciously changes your response and behaviour.

After all it is you who know what is best for you and I suggest that you grab each opportunity with the aim of making it work!

By Shubhra Rastogi

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SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at @SHEROESIndia

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