Despite all the advice of coaches, fitness, and personal development professionals from years past to push ourselves to achieve more etc. I’ve found that pushing ourselves is not effective for a large percentage of people. Here’s one NLP perspective on pushing ourselves.
If we use the word ‘push‘ in the context of pushing an object away from us, the word has a neutral connotation – neither positive nor negative. Pushing can be good if we want the object to be farther from us or the place from which we’re pushing it away. But if we use the word ‘push’ in a metaphorical sense, i.e. pushing ourselves to achieve something, then some people will see the connotation of the word as positive and other people as negative. Since the phrase ‘pushing ourselves’ has so heavily been promoted as a good thing by mainly fitness and personal development professionals over the past several years and since the linguistic standards in today’s society are heavily sliding with each generation, many people will take the positive connotation of the word ‘push’ in the metaphorical sense for granted and won’t question it. But the remaining others will see it differently and their point is just as valid. After all, can you blame them? If you think about it from their perspective, if you were to push someone to do something, how do you think the person would react? S/he would either oblige for a while to appease you and then go back to his/her ways or s/he would shut off and even rebel against being pushed.
NLP shows that we work the same way. If we push ourselves, depending on our personality we’ll either comply for a while and then go back to our old ways or we’ll shut off and rebel straight away. This is why pushing ourselves is not effective. And another important factor at play is our internal dialog – what we say to ourselves. Pushing in the metaphorical sense is usually negative, because pushing indicates that we must do something that we’re not doing. Pushing has an aura of order, failure, ruling, thus negativity. The internal dialog of pushing will contain the words ‘must’, ‘should’, ‘ought to’, etc. which are words that can be suffixed with ‘…but I somehow don’t manage to’.
Pushing ourselves will only work if we reframe and rename pushing to encouraging and encourage ourselves with saying positive things to ourselves, plus if all other factors necessary for successful acting on what we were formerly pushing ourselves to do are equal. But all factors are rurally equal, thus even encouraging ourselves will only work if all other factors are set absolutely right. And this is a domain where an NLP coach can help.