Do you smell popcorn? Mmm, warm, buttery popcorn? Amazing popcorn! Its tantalizing aroma can prompt us to nibble even if we aren’t hungry. It can trigger memories and help us change our internal state.
When I took my NLP training (Neuro Linguistic Programming), “Do you smell popcorn?” was the phrase we heard more than any other.
Why? Because it is a simple way to change the focus of you’re thinking about. A quick, unexpected sentence that comes out of the blue can disconnect you from a negative feeling or thought and shift your mind in another direction. It’s a great sentence because it involves your senses and is usually associated with pleasant memories.
You’ve probably experienced something similar yourself talking with a friend or colleague, when one thought communicated can take the conversation on a totally different tangent. Perhaps it even leaves you with the knowing that you had something to share but you can’t quite place it because your mind flowed with the conversation on to new subjects.
When you are conversing, with yourself or another, it seems like your unconscious mind is two steps ahead of you. By the time you’ve formulated your sentence, you’ve had the thought, felt the energy and emotion of the thought, thought how to communicate that thought and where you expect the conversation to go.. working on your next thought. Plus, you’ve retrieved any pertinent information from your memory banks. All of that in an instant.
So, do you smell popcorn?
Now, really, it’s not the sentence itself that holds the power. It is the mind, and shifting its attention even briefly can change the path it’s following. Especially if it likes to go to critical or fearful places.
The trick is “unexpected.”
So if you find yourself lost in ruminating thought patterns or you feel an uncomfortable emotion, saying to yourself “Do you smell popcorn?” probably isn’t going to work to get yourself out of it. You’re missing the element of surprise. Your unconscious mind already sees it coming.
It is a useful tool though when you are dealing with someone who seems lost in their thought or emotion; it helps pull them back out. And it’s fantastic when someone can do it for you!
So, why not make popcorn a little more important in your life?