Do you want to know an effective way to influence people’s thinking and behaviour? Do it through your words.
I have previously talked about the limit chain, where someone who already possesses a limiting belief will try to pass it on to someone else, who they feel they can do this to. This is the nature of the limiting belief – reinforcing itself by spreading to somebody else such as a child, a friend, or a student.
A popular way in which the limit chain exists, and which you can influence people’s thoughts, is by ‘small talk’.
‘Small talk’ is what happens when two or more people engage in a conversation with no meaningful topic discussed. The aim of the talk is purely to fill the silence – the topic is usually of no or little relevance, and the lives of those who take part in this conversation aren’t enriched.
But despite the trivial and sometimes pointless nature of small talk, it still thrives.
Why People Prefer Small Talk
It seems that ‘small talk’ is designed purely to fill the silence and to cover the awkwardness in conversations. For example, if two people meet for the first time, such as on a date, then they will commonly resort to small talk in order to help them overcome their nerves.
Small talk is made popular because so many people do it, even though they could discuss something more meaningful. Another example would be between a group of colleagues at work – instead of discussing a project or system where they have the chance to improve efficiency or results, they choose to discuss what they did at the weekend.
This is why small talk is so popular – it enables people to talk about something that has no consequence or meaning. There is no incentive on ‘saying the right thing’. The topic can be about anything that has no consequence, and it’s as easy to get out of a topic as it is easy to get into it. In other words, everyone knows that the conversation is there to pass the time.
The Influence Of Seemingly Innocent Gossip
But as innocent as small talk may appear to be, it still has its potential for harm in the form of gossip.
A conversation always has some effect on its participants – it either helps them or hinders them. A conversation that helps will provide benefit to the individual – maybe it give them a new idea, or it will inspire them, or it empower them to make a decision or take action on something important.
On the other hand, a conversation that hinders will provide drawbacks to the individual – maybe it will demotivate them, or get them to doubt whether they’re doing the right thing, or cause them to wander whether or not it’s worth speaking to that person again.
Gossip is a form of small talk that hinders – it spreads rumours about other people or groups of people, formed from other people’s opinions. When two individuals gossip about someone else, perhaps a member of the family or a work colleague, then there is an incredible amount of potential for damage.
The relations between the gossipers and the subject could be damaged, perhaps permanently. The relationship between the two gossipers could be damaged and reduced to that of ‘mistrust’. All of this comes about because of one person’s desire to vent their limiting belief in an attempt to make themselves feel better.
The influence of this can be great – distorted opinions could spread to another individual who may accept their limiting belief without challenging it. This recipient could then spread that opinion onto someone else, who may also accept it. This limit chain then continues on and on, even if the subject in question manages to prove the gossip false.
Gossip is seemingly innocent because there ‘appears’ to be nothing wrong with it – the initiating individual may only be voicing their opinion out of concern. But once voiced, the influence of these words then spreads to others who may also ‘catch’ the limiting belief. They take what is said to heart and get drawn in.
The Best Way To Avoid Gossip
Gossip is popular, but this doesn’t mean that we have to be involved with it.
In order to avoid gossip, and catching a limiting belief, the best solution is to avoid accepting gossip. To avoid taking part in conversations centred on gossip, and to avoid spreading gossip.
If you were to take part in a small talk conversation about gossip, you would be contributing to its spread – somebody else could overhear what you what you were talking about, and you would then be involved whether you like it or not. So the best remedy to avoid this is to avoid gossip altogether – if you’re in a conversation and the other person starts to gossip about someone else, either change the topic or end the conversation. If you hear gossip being spread, avoid taking it to heart and spreading it yourself.
To refrain from taking part in any form of gossip ensures that you inoculate yourself from catching a limiting belief about somebody else. And instead of spreading gossip about someone, you can choose to have conversations that are meaningful and beneficial to those involved, thereby reducing the amount of small talk that people partake in and increasing the number of empowering, helpful conversations.
In effect, you are either spreading gossip and limiting beliefs, or you are spreading empowering beliefs.