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How to Win Cooperation and Influence People | Jewish Connected
Dr. Miriam Adahan

A.C.T. (6): Ask Questions Instead of Commanding


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Just as a tiny bug tries to escape a fly swatter, it’s human instinct to avoid being controlled or criticized.

People feel respected when they make their own decisions.

Hence the trick is to “Always, ask questions instead of commanding”

So, whenever possible, gain cooperation by asking questions (which engages the AB), instead of giving orders.


Here are 4 Examples:

  • “You need to study for a test/do homework. Is AB strong enough to get you to do what you need to do?” “Which choice will make you feel proud of yourself?”
  • “How long will it take to go from BB to AB? ONE! TWO! THREE!”
  • “Are you proud of what you just did? Did AB or BB win?”
  • “When he insulted you, what did BB tell you to do? Can The Boss (cortex) think of a better solution?”

Where do you feel better – in BB or AB?

Help children make wise choices on their own rather than always telling them what to do.

“Real Life Testimonial: This really works! I explained about AB and BB to my four-year old and he started saying things like, “BB told me not to wash my hands, but AB told me not to listen to BB!” He is really aware of when he‟s listening to BB and when AB is more in control. I can‟t believe it!”

No one needs to teach us to get excited about physical pleasures; new shoes and ice cream provide instant pleasure.

But it takes training to feel the sublime spiritual pleasure which comes from doing the right thing, not eating sweets or not buying an unnecessary item.

Since the animal soul feels a loss of animal pleasure when we resist a negative impulse, it is essential to compensate ourselves with a sense of enthusiastic spiritual pleasure! Enthusiasm builds new neural connections.

Each time a child is irritating, use it as an opportunity to teach rather than to get angry.

Tell them that no one, even the loftiest person, ever conquers the “enemy” completely. Inevitably, we experience a negative “initial response” from the lower brain. However, these urges become weaker and less frequent as we strengthen AB.

Show enthusiasm.

This creates spiritual joy in the midst of loss and frustration!

Be Patient! A child’s cortex isn’t developed enough to enable him to fully control his impulses. However, by seeing you get excited about his victories, he’ll soon learn to be excited about his own victories.


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A.C.T. is a comprehensive course on developing emotional and spiritual intelligence by Dr. Miriam Adahan. Topics include- UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN, EMETT, COMMUNICATION ROADBLOCKS, and a special feature on PARENTING.  This in-depths course will be posted every Monday on JewishConnectED.com, B’ezrat Hashem. Log in every Monday to continue learning about A.C.T. It will change your life.


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Dr. Miriam Adahan

Dr. Miriam Adahan is a psychologist, therapist, prolific author and founder of EMETT ("Emotional Maturity Established Through Torah") ­- a network of self-help groups dedicated to personal growth. She lives in Jerusalem, and has recently written on the struggles of life in the terror-beset land.

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