me kay cooke

Have You Tried It Yet?

In 1988 Professor Fritz Strack experimented with the perceived happiness of people when reading a cartoon.

Two groups read the same cartoon – one group had each to hold a pencil in their teeth without lips touching, the other group had to hold a pencil between their lips with no teeth contact.

Guess which group ‘felt’ happier?

Have you tried it yet?

Communicating Simplicity

The briefing of managers had been brisk apparently, and communication had been minimal, or so it seemed. My client reflected that the message to the team was simple; the economy was unsupportive, the market place was dire, that the industry was struggling.

The boss had used a sports teamwork analogy during the briefing.

“Misplaced analogy,” my client judged.

“How so?” I asked.

“Didn’t really work,” he replied despondently.

“What do you think was your boss’s intention in providing the analogy?” I enquired.

“That we should rally the troops and work together, he tried to give us belief” came the reply.

“Do you think the intention behind the analogy might have been to communicate his belief that things could turn around?” I asked.

“Yes, I guess so”. He reflected.

“And you trust and admire the beliefs of your boss?” I asked.

“Yes,” came a reply of certainty.

“How motivated do you feel when you believe that your boss believes a turnaround is possible?” I enquired.

“Very.” He concluded.

“So the analogy served its purpose at a deeper level than perhaps, until now, you were aware of? I suggested.

“Well I can see that now, yes.” He smiled.

“What was the immediate response of the team?” I wondered.

“Reorganising and refocused …” He realised.

Multi level communication where the component parts included:


Overt communication process

Conscious perceptual filters

Covert (unconscious) message



New behaviour

New Strategies when a friend has anorexia

13-year-old Eliza (all names changed) recently came to see me because she was distressed to discover that a school friend had become anorexic.

Eliza was very keen to understand ‘why’ Ceri has anorexia. I explained that all human beings have behavioural strategies that are unique to them and although patterns can generalise and become labelled (in this case anorexia), it would be inappropriate for me to comment on Ceri’s situation without understanding her personalised mechanics.

I suggested that, if she was to place any thinking Ceri’s way, she could choose thoughts that a) support Eliza’s own wellbeing and maybe, just perhaps, may b) influence the metaphysical sphere of Ceri (principles of Reiki, but I simply suggested some of the unknown parameters of metaphysics). Analogous to prayer, I guided Eliza (who came from a religious family) through a visualisation that sends positive thought, compassion and energy towards Ceri, a process that switched her thinking away from the worry sphere.

The visualisation also enabled Eliza to define and shift the boundaries of her ‘connection’ to Ceri so that she could engage and disengage through choice not as a routine snagging emotion. Eliza seemed pleased to have this new strategy.

When discussing the merits of using visualisation as a powerful tool, we turned attention to its use in sport. This led Eliza to say that she often found it difficult to easily fall asleep at night, particularly before a netball match where she would be mentally rehearsing into the small hours.

So we looked at separate strategies for ‘preparing to sleep’ and ‘preparing for sport’. This included utilising her bedroom furniture so that bed was for relaxing and sleeping, and a specific chair was for thinking about things, or mentally preparing for sport. Separating anchors.

We ran through some activities for both – relaxing the body systematically to prepare for sleep and waking up the whole mind to prepare for thinking, using 2 of the Happy Brain calm confidence kit activities that she could practise herself.

Eliza continues to develop useful methods of understanding herself in relation to the world she is growing up in.