“Priming” refers to the fact that if a person’s unconscious is directed toward a particular concept, his or her behavior will change accordingly. So if you covertly introduce the idea of old age, people will act older, move more slowly; if you introduce the idea of rudeness, people behave more rudely.
“Accessibility” refers to how readily a person activates certain mental information. Some information is more accessible—information that has been encountered recently, for example, or information in a category relevant to other active information.
Whether it’s a logical sequence of thought or not, reading about priming and accessibility made me decide that it might be useful to remind myself frequently of certain concepts and goals.
So I went around the apartment a few weeks ago, putting up sticky notes on neon-colored paper. Each note has a few words that are meant to energize certain ideas and attitudes in my mind.
The note on my laptop says, “Focused and observant.” The note in my office says, “Creative and confident.” The note on the fridge says, “Busy and energetic” (i.e., get out of the kitchen and do something!) The note in our bedroom says, “Quiet mind.” After I put a note in the master bathroom that said, “Tender and light-hearted,” the Big Man crossed it out and wrote, “Light and flaky.” That made me laugh.
So, does it make a difference? I’ve had to discipline myself to read and register these notes; it’s all too easy to let them fade into the background, like the family photographs that I rarely notice.
But even if I don’t process the words every time, I often do manage to think about them for a few moments.
And I do think that these notes help keep these attitudes uppermost in my mind. I find myself remembering to lighten up, to keep focused, to cultivate the quiet mind that I need to do serious reading.