A recent study* defines "spontaneous trait inference" as, when we talk about someone, that what we say is often transferred to us in the mind of the listener. In other words, people who talk poorly about others are often perceived by the listener to possess the same negative qualities they speak about.
That may sound unfair, but those who make a practice of speaking positively about others will be happy to learn that positive comments are even more likely to cause spontaneous trait inference. If you talk about the positive qualities of people, the listener will subconciously infer you possess those positive traits - unless, of course, your actions betray your words.
As part of their study, the group set up an experiment in which one group saw people talking about themselves and another group saw the same people say the same things about acquaintances. Both the participants who saw "Fred" say "I am shy" and participants who saw Fred say "Ethel is shy" thought Fred was shy.
Spontaneous trait inference only proves what your mother told you was good advice...if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. It's nothing new, but now it's got a fancy new name and some science to back it up.
Earl Nightingale, one of the greatest motivational speakers and writers in history, became the only non-entertainer to sell a million records. His record was titled, The Strangest Secret. The secret, he illustrated, had been well-known throughout history, yet few people seemed to be aware of it.
What was the secret? That we become what we think. Earl had spent twenty years searching for the reasons some people succeed and some people fail when he realized he had read the answer again and again. It was in the New Testament, in the sayings of Buddha, in the writings of Lao Tse, in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and in hundreds of other writings - we reap what sow, we are the captain of our soul, we become what we think about.
Earl read the same thing in thousands of books until he finally realized, "We can’t become anything but what we think!"
James Allen put it this way, "A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts."
It's clear then, that for us to be thought of well by others, we must speak well of others. Because what we say comes from our thoughts, we must first think well of others before we can speak well of them. Before we can think well of others, we must train ourselves to look for the good in others. And finally, because we most easily recognize in others that which we see in ourselves, we must begin by looking for the good in ourselves, not for vanity's sake, but to utilize our positive traits in positive and useful ways.
Sometimes it's way too easy to get down on ourselves when things don't go as we hope or expect. We can't let the ease of self-deprecation deny us from becoming who we want to become. Self-determination is our birthright, and no one but us can keep us from achievement. We only need to think rightly, for we become who we think we are. Or to put it another way, we think into existance who we become in the end.
So think and speak well of others, and people will think well of you. When you are thinking well of each other, a symbiotic relationship builds that can benefit both, whether the other person realizes the nature of your symbiosis or not, after all, we don't have to understand gravity keep from floating off into space.
*The study cited was published by John Skowronski, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University, and his colleagues.
What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth.
~ Jewish Proverb
The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.
~ Terry Josephson
Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits. Cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things.
~ James Allen
The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~ Albert Einstein
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