A photographer was taking the graduation picture in a large middle school. The girls positioned themselves in the front rows as directed—with the boys in the rear rows.
To ensure that the boys acted on their best behavior, one of the teachers approached a group of boys who were just standing there and said, “Now boys, don’t push the girls down the risers.”
The boys hadn’t even thought of it!
Remember that the brain thinks in visuals, in pictures—not in text or words. With this in mind, with what message were the boys left?
The next time you don’t want someone to do something, consider whether your message will tempt in a way which is counterproductive. The easiest way to remember this is to always state what you want, not what you do not want, such as, “Boys, thanks for acting on your best behavior during the picture taking.”