The Power of Words, A Reminder for us all
Every single day, each one of us uses words to express, explain, communicate, sell, motivate, love, teach, coach, goal set, and so much more. The words that we choose have so much power over the life that we live. If we are in a serious relationship, married, dating, or what have you, the words that we choose to speak to one another, both together and apart will either serve to pull us together and endear us to each other, or slowly build a wedge between us eventually driving us apart. A simple yet real life example of this would be somebody referencing the old “Ball and Chain” with regards to their supposed loved one. 10 years of using an even mildly derogatory nickname, or reference to the people we supposedly love can have a massively negative effect.
5 Specific Examples
Let’s take a look at 5 words or phrases that are generally considered negatives:
No, I often think a lot about how many times we are forced to say this to our children in life. Despite our best efforts to influence our children with positivity to counter the often massively negative influence of the world they live in, we are put into situations where it is very difficult to not use the word “No”. Some possibilities to consider that are game changers in place of “No” might be…”How Interesting” or “Possibly” or “Maybe” or “Perhaps We Can Consider It”, or “Let’s look into it”. Do you feel how different the response is, and probably how different it feels for your children, loved ones, co-workers, employees, customers, friends, pretty much anyone right?
But, so many times I have been told that when you use the word “but” it negates everything that came before it. I would venture to say that this word is used so much in daily life, people have gotten used to waiting to hear it, especially after someone telling us something positive, only to then say “but” and give us some reason why we are wrong, something won’t work, or that we cannot do something, need improvement, etc., What if instead we used “and”? A typical conversation piece I have been involved in many times goes something like this, “How did we do on the project?” the usual answer would go something like, “The beginning was looking pretty good, BUT there are many things that need to be fixed like blah, blah blah…” now if we switched it to something like this “The beginning was looking pretty good, AND there is no doubt it will get even better with a few adjustments!” Kind of a drastic difference isn’t it?
I should have, Or You should have, oh boy that is an easy one to bury ourselves with isn’t it? Even worse, I think a lot of us unintentionally, maybe even unconsciously bury the people around us with this one far too often. A typical example I have caught myself doing would go something like this: “Listen son, what you should have done is paid closer attention to….” most of us can probably fill in a lot of blanks with this one. What if instead we replaced that with “I could” or “You Could” the change can be dramatically better. “Listen son, I know you were trying really hard, what “could” you maybe have done better? “What are some things that you could do next time to get a better result?” With self talk, we often guilt ourselves over what we should have done, or get guilt tripped by others. “I should have listened better, I should have been there for you when you needed me.” That kind of statement can bring anyone even more pain and guilt then they are probably already feeling. Versus, “I could listen a lot better next time, I will find time to be there for them when they need me.” The difference can be subtle, but kind of like a tiny snow ball rolling down a mountainside, these kinds of choices can grow bigger either in a good way, or a negative one, very quickly.
Here is a really big one to try and get right for our long-term success. I failed, whew if we are committed to being better in this life, to doing more, to building something greater than ourselves we are going to fail a lot. The words we choose to describe this experience are vitally important for our future. Can we imagine for a moment replacing the phrase I failed with “I Learned”? There is a definite difference between emphasizing the negative part of an experience versus accenting the positive right? If every single time we failed trying something, we immediately had the habit of figuring out what we just learned, the entire experience of growth not only becomes more fun, but accelerates!
One more for today’s article, cause I hear this one from my children a lot. It’s hard, so many things of value in life can be difficult at first, so this can become a deep program within ourselves, and our children, loved ones, teammates and more so quickly. One of my favorite things to say to my children is, “Never ask for life to be easy, instead make sure that life is worth it!” Not exactly sure if that is the best way to go, I have heard a good one to try is switching “hard” out for “new”. This makes the association with something being hard, to instead be this is something new. I have often instinctively tried to make it positive when my children have expressed something is hard to me, by saying that’s great, it means you are getting stronger at overcoming obstacles in life, or something along those lines, but I like the “new” replacement, because it is easy, simple, and something that can become a positive pattern in a very short time.
Video Example to Watch in Conclusion
As a visual person, I find it so helpful when learning something new, or as is often the case RE-learning something new to see it in action. This helps to cement the lesson so much better, and increases the chances I will successfully add the technique, strategy, or life upgrade to my daily life. So for all of us, here is a wonderful little youtube video that summarizes this pretty well in less than 2 minutes.
So simple and subtle the difference, and yet it changes everything for the better, or worse, depending on the words we choose to use in our daily lives.
Hope all of you have an empowering week!
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