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I’m reading a great book right now by Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.  It is a really inspiring book about prayer and our mindset about coming to God with our thoughts and dreams. 

This morning, though, I came across a passage that I thought was incredibly interesting about how our thoughts, and the things we allow into our thoughts, can have a profound impact on our actions and mindset.  Check it out.

Over the last few decades, New York University psychologist John Bargh has conducted priming experiments on unsuspecting undergraduates. One of the experiments involved a scrambled-sentence test. The first test was sprinkled with rude words like disturb, bother, and intrude. The second test was sprinkled with polite words like respect, considerate, and yield. In both cases, the subjects thought they were taking tests measuring intelligence. None of the subjects picked up on the word trend consciously, but it primed them subconsciously.

After taking the five-minute test, students were asked to walk down the hall and talk to the person running the experiment about their next assignment. An actor was strategically engaged in conversation with the experimenter when the students would arrive. The goal was to see how long it would take students to interrupt.

Bargh wanted to know if the subjects who were primed with polite words would take longer to interrupt the conversation than those primed with rude words. He suspected that the subconscious priming would have a slight effect, but the effect was profound in quantitative terms. The group primed with rude words interrupted, on average, after five minutes, but 82 percent of those primed with polite words never interrupted at all. Who knows how long they would have patiently and politely waited if the researchers hadn’t given the test a ten-minute time limit.

Zondervan, (2011). The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (Kindle Locations 2266-2277). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Here’s what got me: what we take in, what we focus on, what we start our day with can have a profound impact on how we relate to others and the world around us. 

What kind of primer did you use to start your day today?

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