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7 Things
That Never Prompt Change

Chances are that at one point you’ve attempted to change another person. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately, most people try to prompt change in others the wrong way.

Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common approaches of imposing punishments or rewarding to control) are eventually doomed to fail. He referred to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He listed them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.

To prove his point, just respond to the following:

  • How do you feel when someone criticizes you?
  • How do you feel when someone blames you?
  • How do you feel when someone complains to you?
  • How do you feel when someone nags you?
  • How do you feel when someone threatens to do something to you?
  • How do you feel when someone punishes you?
  • How do you feel when someone offers you a bribe to do something?

If you’re like most people, you will acknowledge that none of these approaches work to prompt change in you. So why try using them on others?

Remember that change is emotional as much as it is intellectual. We know we should or should not do things, but it is only when our emotions kick in that we are prompted to act.

Rarely will we want to do something when we feel bad about doing it. We do good when we feel good, not when we feel bad. Therefore, if you want to prompt change in others, focus on the emotional aspect by fostering positive feelings.

Tip: Using any of the “seven deadly habits” destroys relationships and results in resistance, which leads to disconnection. Using any of the “seven deadly habits” is not a good way to improve relationships or successfully discipline someone. A successful approach is to be positive, offer choices, and prompt reflection. (P.S. These are the three principles I practice to manage any kind of stress, which is usually self-induced.)

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Dr. Marvin Marshall

PO Box 11
Los Alamitos, CA 90720


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