You might not believe it, but the human brain cannot comprehend the negative. It’s true, so says Simon Sinek, and he’ll even give you an example to prove it. Are you ready?
Don’t think of an elephant.
Okay, what were you thinking just now?
You can’t tell the human brain not to do something. Whenever we put something in the negative, we’re often reinforcing the idea instead of pushing it away.
Here’s another example. Professional skiers have no problem skiing through trees and zig-zagging around them. How do they do it? They don’t tell themselves “don’t hit a tree, don’t hit a tree,” because if they do, they’re gonna focus on the trees. Then what happens? They’ll hit the tree because that’s all they’re seeing.
Instead, they tell themselves “follow the path, follow the path” and the path becomes the only thing they see. Suddenly, all the trees disappear and they’re skiing comfortably along the path.
Source: Simon Sinek