Bob the Builder – what can we learn from him??

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on how we can often get caught up wallowing in negative thought space.  Now this is not unusual for most of us, for generally we have at least twice as many negative thoughts to positive thoughts.  Indeed, negative self-talk is the biggest drag on our capacity to see things in a brighter note, and perhaps seek resolution to our problems.

I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s terrific book, To Sell is Human, and one passage really tweaked my interest.  He refers to Interrogative Self-Talk, where instead of talking to ourselves in either a positive or negative way, we can interrogate our thinking.

And this is where the wisdom of Bob the Builder comes in.  When Bob considers the various challenges he faces during the day, he generally asks: Can we fix this? with the answer being: Yes we can.

And it turns out that social scientists are suggesting that Bob has got this nailed.  Positive self-talk is more effective that negative self-talk, but the most effective self-talk moves us from making statements to asking questions.

In 2010, researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi confirmed that participants approaching tasks using questioning self-talk outperformed those who used positive self-talk.  Why: this style elicits answers, and ideas/strategies for carrying out tasks, and as the researchers noted “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to pursue a goal”.

So when next faced with some of life’s challenges, be like Bob the Builder, and ask yourself “Can I fix it?”  I’m sure you will have all the answers you need.