Popular Psychology Myths – Dispelling Old Notions

Popular Psychology Myths

Are you still being fed popular psychology myths which are continually doing the rounds even though they were dispelled years ago?

There are also some I can tell you from experience that are either not true, or a highly contextual in any given situation.

I meet new coaches regularly and they all tend to still buy into the old notions and preach them as if they’re cutting edge findings they’ve discovered themselves. 😛

I’m just teasing you, don’t worry if you are still saying these. We’re all constantly learning but I ask you to continue to research and absorb the latest findings.

Lets go over a few of these popular psychology myths and see which ones you recognise.

Popular Psychology Myths – It takes 21 days to make a habit. – FALSE!

It truly depends on the person making the habit and how they’re doing it.

More recent studies suggest it takes more like 66-365 days to make a habit.

Some other researchers say there are no defined times periods for habits.

In my experience, if you have a powerful enough WHY – you can create a new habit overnight.

I changed a lifetime habit of going to bed late and waking up late, practically overnight, as I became aware of a strong enough reason to change.

My message to you, find your WHY or help someone else find their why and you have the most powerful ingredient for habit change.

Just ask someone who’s had a heart attack, or had their child say they want them to quit smoking and you’ll understand what I mean.

Crossing your arms is being defensive. – FALSE! (As are may body language claims)

Out of all the popular psychology myths, body language is at the top.

Folding your arms could mean anything. It could mean your arms are tired and you want to change their position.

Another one I get asked about is: is a woman who plays with her hair flirting with me? Umm… let me put this delicately… NO!

It could mean she has an itchy scalp. 😎

Most interpretations of body language poses meaning one thing or another, are complete nonsense.

There are of course some truths of course in that you could probably identity a confident person, and a shy person based on what they’re doing with their body.

There are certain things we can pick up on quite easily which is where the the true language of the body comes through.

For coaches and mentors alike I say, don’t look too deep into body language. It’s all highly contextual. It truly depends on the situation.

Trying to label one particular pose or action with an absolute in my opinion is almost like stereotyping people.

7% of communication is verbal, 38% is tone and 55% is body language. – FALSE!

The idea that 7% is verbal, 38% is tonal, and 55% is body language is not true.

Even the author of that study says his work is badly misinterpreted.

If it were true you could understand what someone was saying in a different language, or understand foreign T.V. without subtitles on.

My take on that subject is as follows:

  • 60% of communication is what we say and the syntax of the words we use.
  • 20% is conveyed with emotion / energy through the body
  • 20% is tone.

Popular Psychology Myths – In closing

Those who say we all have a dominant modality, and if you use key modality words it will have a greater impact are, in my opinion, also false.

An example would be that if someone is auditory dominant, then using words like ‘listen’ or ‘hear’ will improve their learning.

Research is indicative but not the be all and end all. I’ve been coaching long enough that I see certain patterns and I’ve also been coaching long enough to know that no all patterns are true for all people.

Deeper than all of the above, is our ability to connect on a much deeper ‘soul’ level with people. To truly connect with others and is realising, we are all, in fact, connected. Nothing trumps true connection; a heart-centered approach in my view.

What’s your take? Would you agree? Any others that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.

Share your thoughts with the world :-)