When asked about the secret of his success and long career, actor Michael Caine answered: “I have a policy. I never listen to anyone explain why they can’t do something. I don’t want to be convinced by them.”
How often do you encounter people with such negativity that it influences you? Have you ever been driving with someone who said, “We’ll never find a parking spot”? Next time that happens, turn to them and ask, “How do you know?” Sometimes people decide things that limit them without even thinking. And in that limiting decision, they have created a negative energy that surrounds them—and you.
On a movie set, when someone shouts “it’ll never work” or “we don’t have enough time” just tell them to leave the room. There’s no reason to be in that kind of environment. I like to think, “there’s always a way to make anything work” and “there’s plenty of time.” One just needs to be creative. And it’s super difficult to be creative when you’re making a limiting decision about something.
I taught one of my consulting clients about how he could make a short film. Months later, I learned that he had indeed made his short, and that the film was accepted to screen at the Cannes Film Festival. Isn’t that wonderful! I’m fairly certain he didn’t make any limiting decisions along the way.
If you’re a worry wart and are often creating difficult situations even more difficult, it might be hard to grasp this idea. But, it would be really beneficial to never operate with any limiting decisions. Try removing the following words from your daily dialogue: can’t, won’t, never, don’t. It’s a really fun exercise. My favorite was going a whole week without saying the word DON’T. Instead of telling someone what you don’t want, you’ll find it is always easier to tell someone what you DO want.
The subconscious mind cannot process negatives. Don’t picture a blue tree.
What did you picture? A blue tree! And even if you immediately changed the color of the tree, you pictured a blue tree even when I told you not to. Don’t imagine a baby crying. Don’t imagine a birthday cake. Don’t imagine an orange rose. More of the same. Whoever decided the billboard should say “Don’t drink and drive” is an idiot. It should read “Find a sober driver.”
Anyway, when it comes to communication—whether on a film set, within the binds of a screenplay, or in ordinary day-to-day life—think about what you’re saying. Are you telling people what you WANT? Or are you telling them what you don’t want?