The office space where I work is shared by myriad firms. There is a large flat-screen plasma TV in the break room permanently tuned to CNN with a notice reading “Please Don’t Change the Channel” affixed to the cable box.
I generally resent a hype-based culture of fear and enough tickers to make me epileptic, not to mention I prefer ESPN on my lunch break. Naturally, I change the channel.
Over the past two months, I have noticed a curious thing: the TV is now permanently tuned to ESPN, because no one changes the channel. The entire Penthouse is prisoner to the power of suggestion.
This bizarre anecdote is an excellent example of the way people’s brains can be rewired using the power of suggestion framed within the context of a social norm/authority.
Instead of reading “Please don’t change the channel” as an instruction/order, one may read the word “please” as a suggestion, “don’t” as a challenge, and “change the channel” as an opportunity for a paradigm shift.
Via this simple act (changing the channel), my desired reality (ESPN) is now the enforced norm by virtue of people’s own conditioning.
Moral: By thinking and acting outside the box, you may inadvertently gain the power to control people within the parameters of the new box(es) you have created.
1. What antiquated ways of thinking may you/your business be needlessly adhering to solely based upon convention? Is this affecting productivity/happiness? Is there a correlation (between productivity/happiness)?
2. Can you subtly rewrite the rules? How?
3. How do you process declarative statements? In other words, are they interpreted as suggestions, opinions, constraints, enforced boundaries, or challenges? This may depend upon context and the individual issuing said statements.
4. How do the people you admire (role models, mentors, heroes, etc.) process declarative statements? Do they recognize limits or boundaries of any kind?
Action: Change the channel.