Establishing positive life scripts

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Establishing positive life scripts 

Quite early on in life, or as young children we start to write the story of our lives and on average 80% of what we believe comes from what we see, hear and experience.

In many families, most of the important developmental messages are passed on by means of mostly non-verbal injunctions or restrictions (negative), or permissions or approval to do something (positive). These messages constantly feed our inner child to fill up our internal library of life scripts or support the ones we already have in place.

Negative examples:

  • Don’t be
  • Don’t do
  • Don’t belong
  • Don’t get close
  • Don’t feel
  • Don’t be yourself
  • Don’t be a child
  • Don’t think
  • Don’t grow up
  • Don’t succeed
  • Don’t be important

Life scripts are normally established through repetition and each child will respond differently to any negative messages they are hearing or actions they are seeing. This can be as a direct result of their place in the family and attachment to the people they are regularly interacting with.

But remember, we are also developing positive life scripts that shape how we think or feel about our ability to succeed in life. These positive life scripts will help us achieve our life goals, build respect for ourselves or others and have drivers that help us develop skills or please our parents and authority figures.

Positive examples:

  • Be perfect
  • Try hard
  • Please
  • Be strong
  • Hurry up

Failure scripts

In addition to these positive and negative life scripts, we do unfortunately also create our own failure scripts. This is normally through repeated or unconscious thought patterns. This type of negative thought pattern can be seen whenever we are under stress and will normally trigger a failure script.

American psychologiste Taibi Kahler identified six failure scripts:
1. The Until script
2. The After script
3. The Never script
4. The Always script
5. The Almost script 1
6. The Almost script 2

Breaking our negative scripts

It can be easy to let an inner voice become our own personal saboteur and if left unchecked, these negative thoughts can lead to personal or professional failure. However, Taibi Kahler believes an established failure script is an integral part of our personality structure and we cannot simply rid ourselves of it, but we can learn to stop it happening.

For example:

By mentally saying stop or by concentrating on an outside object like a picture, some music, or stress-relieving ball, we can escape a negative script.

This will help:

  • Re-establish our independence – to become aware of a negative script and eliminate it from any contaminated areas of our lives
  • Re-establish our own boundaries – using one of the following:
    1 – Our spontaneous consciousness – by listening to birdsong and identifying what type of bird we can hear
    2 – Our spontaneity – and the ability to express and give our point of view
    3 – Our relationships – with others and being intimate

And remember… The brain is truly limitless

Our ability to limit what we believe we can achieve in life will unconsciously imprison us before the possibilities to develop are even revealed. But we know one thought pattern requires no more energy than another, however the results of limiting what we believe is possible can be painful or even catastrophic.

So nothing is impossible if you can think positively

But it’s not easy and our brain requires daily training to teach it new ways of thinking. So try incorporating this type of positive brain training activity into your coaching sessions. With a little bit of work and some help from you as a professional coach, what we may think is impossible today, could just be possible tomorrow.


Further reading:

If you would like to help your clients change the negative life scripts that could be holding them back and fully explore the six failure scrips, check out this essential ebook in the online shop:

  • Coaching Beliefs – Identify and review personal beliefs, then focus on any negative life scripts that could be holding your clients back.


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Image: Thanks to Joe Caione for sharing their work on Unsplash.

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