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Positive Priming For a Competitive Edge

by Beth on November 11th, 2010

I just dropped my son off to take a high school entrance exam.  In the car on the way there I told him to think of something that made him happy before he started the test.  I got the idea from a study of positivity that showed that students did better on standardized tests when they self-generated a positive emotion before taking the test.

So is this relevant if you aren’t a student and don’t have to take tests anymore (thank goodness!)?  Yes it is!  One of the best things any of us can do to increase our odds of success is to prime positive emotions before doing a task.  Positive emotions broaden our cognitive capacity making our minds more open so we are more likely to find creative and optimal solutions.  Positive emotions also reduce stress and anxiety which means we are better able to focus and perform at our best.

How many of you crammed for exams right up until you heard the dreaded  “please clear your desk”?  Do you still do that now when you are under pressure to perform at work?  Well it is time to stop!  All you are doing is increasing your anxiety and hurting your chances of success.  You would be much better off spending five minutes watching a funny video on YouTube or chatting with a colleague about the football game last night.

So before you go in to make that presentation or run your proposal by a potential client take a few minutes to do something that will prime positive emotions.  Listen to one of your favorite songs on your ipod or think of a joyful memory.  You can also help others succeed by making them feel positive when they are faced with an important task.  Give them some encouraging words, point out their strengths, or remind them of a past success.  Positive priming is a quick and easy way to give yourself, your team, even your kids a competitive edge.

From → Mindset, Success

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