Table of Contents
We tend to overlook some of our day-to-day habits. One of those is the power of suggestion. One of the things we do at our workplace or among peers is dropped suggestions. In offices, suggestions are welcome to improve on some areas. Most importantly, when you are a leader and people look up to you. Your suggestion matters a lot. As easy as suggestion looks, it is a potent tool.
We often sideline how practical suggestions can be since we can do it without even thinking deeply. We already have some information, so we already have a way forward about a problem. If there is an opportunity, anybody can suggest. Either the suggestions are right or wrong, everyone will have something to say. This owes to the fact that we view things differently.
What is a suggestion? It is a psychological term for guiding the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings of another person. The suggestion involves bringing your thoughts and perspective into play to solve or advance a course. The power of suggestion describes how people take the ideas given to them and turn them into reality. People often harness the power of suggestion to give people ideas about solutions to their problems or live a better life.
Psychologists see the power of suggestions as a tool when introducing change to someone. Suggestion means to bring the best achievable ideas. There could be multiple ways of doing things. Suggestion opens the ground for discussion, especially when in a board meeting or among peers. It brings about rubbing minds together to get the best possible outcome. The power of suggestion helps to compare and contrast ideas and recommendations.
The power of suggestion has been of great help in the field of medicine and human behavior. Also, it has proven its necessity in other fields. In research of drugs and medication, a suggestion has played an important role. A suggestion is essential even in our daily lives and works. It is helpful in all areas and fields of study. Research shows that therapeutic suggestions work better than pharmaceutical approaches.
Some characteristics of suggestion:
- It involves two persons – the giver and the receiver
- It might be deliberate or requested on the part of the giver
- It might be willing and unwilling to accept on the part of the receiver of the idea
- The receiver accepts and turns the idea into his own
- It can be good or bad – this depends on the source of the suggestion
- There are no logical grounds for the acceptance of suggestions and ideas.
Definitions of suggestions by some psychologists
Some psychologists have given their definition of suggestion. Sir T.P. Nunn says suggestion is an unintentional following of someone’s idea or recommendation. Allport’s definition is somehow similar to that as he described the suggestion as an unreasoned acceptance of someone’s idea.
McDougall defined suggestion as a communication process arising from an idea’s acceptance with conviction without any logical ground.
What power does suggestion have on us?
The mind is so powerful and comprehensive. It serves as a room for both positive and negative thoughts. Suggestion restricts us from acting the way we would have wanted. The power of suggestion contradicts the notion of free will.
- It makes us work better: Suggestion to improve our performance. It makes us work better. For a company to move forward, the power of suggestion is needed. When ideas come together, they build a more robust idea. For instance, members drop their suggestions in a board meeting when the chairman seeks advice on moving the company forward. The pros and cons of these suggestions are considered to bring the best possible solution.
- It makes us think we are intelligent more than we are: A research was carried out at the University of Washington to perform a task. Some groups of participants were gathered and were given a pill for intelligent improvement. In the real sense, the pill wouldn’t do anything or affect their mental abilities. Throughout the task, the participant’s level of alertness and awareness increased.
- It changes our routine: Suggestion has the power to change our routines. If you want to improve and do better, you must yield to suggestions. To make use of these suggestions, there might be a need to change routines. For a patient in the hospital who has just recovered from an ailment, doctors will give advice and suggestions on how to avoid a repeat of what happened. Routines will be changed. An ulcer patient will eat more, while a high blood pressure patient will change their diet routine.
- It gives room for multiple plans: Suggestions give us multiple streams of ideas. It blesses us with a new perspective we haven’t been looking at. No matter how simple a suggestion might look, we won’t see it if we ignore it. We are open to seeing different ways of doing things. We can easily create strategies and try them out. Once one strategy is not working, we can switch to others.
- It creates possibilities: The power of suggestion creates possibilities. It creates hope for things we don’t see happening. When we gather suggestions, we learn new things in the process. We see possibilities in things.
- It makes us get better: Suggestions might come with words of advice on how things are done. A person of experience might be the giver of the suggestion. We get better when we learn and practice them.
Factors that affect the power of suggestion
Age: Age is a factor that affects suggestibility. Children are more suggestible than adults. The power of suggestion reduces with age, maturity, and experience. This is because children lack experience, reason, and the power to criticize ideas. Children are more likely to do what they are told to do or what they have seen.
Intelligence: Intelligence is also a factor that affects the power of suggestion. An intelligent person is less suggestible than a dull person. An intelligent person questions every argument. A dull person accepts any answer. A dull person accepts any assumption without query.
Gender: The men are less suggestible than the women. Some masculine factors such as ego might come into play when considering suggestions. Suggestions can easily influence women. Research has it that women easily fall victim to scams than men.
Knowledge: The higher the knowledge, the lesser the power of suggestion. The worst people to advise are the knowledgeable ones. The fact that they know so much writes off any other suggestion. They believe they know so much that can help them.
Interest: Interest is another factor that affects the power of suggestion. A suggestion that doesn’t relate to one’s area of interest is likely to be dumped.
Emotions: Emotional people are highly suggestible. It is advisable that before you drop your suggestions, awaken the person’s emotions. Suggestions work well in an emotional state. Women are more emotional than men, more reason why women be more suggestible than men.
Personalities: We have different personalities, and this affects the power of suggestion over us. Suggestions do not easily convince an introvert. Extroverts, on the other hand, are open people who mix with others. They are easily suggestible.
Temperament: Someone with a melancholy temperament is open to ideas and suggestions, unlike someone with a high temperament who doesn’t accept things easily.
Source of the suggestion: The strength of a suggestion depends on the source. Teachers, parents, and elders have a significant influence on children and younger ones. The strength of their suggestions is therefore vital. Suggestions from public figures, national leaders, thought leaders are influential on their followers.
Types of suggestion
Suggestions can be classified based on some criteria;
Based on the source of the Suggestions:
- Auto-suggestion: This is when the giver and the receiver of the suggestion are the same people. A sick person might say to himself, “he is getting better.” It comes from our inner consciousness.
- Contra-suggestion: This is when a suggestion comes from a hated source. For instance, if a student has resentment for one of his teachers, the person’s advice is contra-suggestion. The receiver, in this case, doesn’t only refuse the suggestion but also acts on the contrary.
- Prestige Suggestion: Prestige suggestion comes from a respected and higher authority. It brings about an irresistible acceptance of the idea. We tend to accept suggestions from higher achievement, age, status, and experience.
- Mass suggestion: This comes from mass sentiment. You are likely to do what the masses are doing if you find yourself in their midst. The majority carries the vote in this case. The fear of public opinion will increase adherence.
Based on the manner of suggestion
- Positive suggestion: These are suggestions that lead us the right way. They are helpful suggestions that we get and improve our lives.
- Negative Suggestion: This is the opposite of a positive suggestion. They are harmful suggestions with impending bad outcomes.
- Positive auto-suggestion: They are positive thoughts that come from the inner mind. They are accommodating in building self-confidence.
- Negative auto-suggestion: Negative auto-suggestion is dangerous. It kills from within. It can lead to guilt, failure, sickness, and so on.
In conclusion, the power of suggestion is an excellent psychological tool that can work wonders. If skillfully used by owners of companies, teachers, and parents, it will yield great results.