Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Negative Word Can Make Rice Mold

A teacher in Brazil focuses on teaching her students the importance of treating others positively.  She demonstrated this lesson using two cups of rice.  She had the students sit in a circle around the cups and asked them to say negative things to one of the cups, such as “you are useless” and “you are stupid”.   The teacher asked the class to say positive things to the other cup such as “you can accomplish anything”, and “you are smart”.  A few days later the rice in the ”positive” cup had fermented normally while the rice in the “negative” had turned black with mold.  One student had an insightful conclusion:
“The damage of negativity is bigger than we can imagine … there are two ways to say things, the right way is to praise the good side of others with the eyes of the heart, not the eyes we see.”   
Research conducted since the 1960’s has shown that people come to identify and behave in ways that reflect how others label them. In adolescents and adults labeling and treating someone as criminally deviant encourages the development of deviant behavior.  This type of labeling also has negative consequences because others are likely to be biased against the person because of the label. Critical and negative comments also effect self -esteem, how effective someone feels they are in important areas of their lives such as work or school, parenting and relationships.

Negative comments and labels given to children has been shown to  decrease expectations and goals for what the child can achieve not only in the child but in the adults in their life such as teachers and parents.  Negativity and criticism also lowers a child’s self-esteem and self-image and harms their relationship with their peers.  The longer this type of treatment goes on the more likely a child will assume the behavior that others expect for them until the comments lead to such things as self-sabotage and become a self -fulfilling prophecy.

The experiment described above is a recreation of work conducted by Masaru Emoto who carried out a similar experiment with rice.  He found similar results for rice that was told positive things and rice that was told negative things.  A third cup of rice which he ignored was found to actually start to rot a few days later.  These experiments have been conducted by thousands of people who have recorded their results and shared them on YouTube. 

Other researchers have shown the same outcome when having people just think positive and negative things toward cups of rice from a remote distance which those who recorded the findings blind to which cups of rice were which.  This classic experiment underscores the importance of each of us paying more attention to the words and emotions we are displaying toward others every day.  As the student said, there are always more than one way say something to another person and the effects of negative words aimed at others is greater than we can ever know.  If negative comments and ignoring molds and rots rice, just imagine what such treatment can do to people’s emotional and physical well-being.  Our words, thoughts and behavior toward other matters.
See Dr. Emoto’s Rice Experiment here.

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