Learning how to speak was among the very first things we learned as children. Words are the basest form of communication. So much so that when someone mispronounces words or uses a word in an incorrect context we think low of them. Such is the power of words.
Words have energy and power, they can help, to heal, hurt and humble.
A 21st century Jewish Rabbi shared this striking statement about the power of words:
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”
We can choose to use this force constructively with words that serve us, or destructively with the words that harm us. Choices we make with our language set the parameters for our lives.
The skill of expressing our feelings through words can contribute to our success personally and professionally.
The real power in words is their meaning and interpretation by us. Our emotions, the events we experience, and our ability to interact with other humans are all controlled by words.
If we want more control and create more value in our lives we have to start with a greater understanding of the potential power of words we use.
Let me explain this to you with an example:
HARD WORK :
Why do we term work as hard? I don’t know who invented this word in the first place. Whoever did it did a bad job of confusing the entire world and depriving human society of seeing the real truth.
Why any kind of work has to be HARD 😰😰😰? Who decides it’s hard and for whom? Imagine if you meet Virat Kohli and tell him hitting sixes against international bowlers is hard work? Will he believe you? Maybe not. But, if you tell him that writing a New york times bestseller novel is hard work, he might take you seriously.
Any kind of work that takes a long time to complete, takes experimentation and a lot of focus is automatically termed HARD WORK 😰😰😰.
Why not name the work as what it is in reality? E.g., If I want to earn a million $, instead of saying it will take a lot of hard work I’d rather say it takes learning, experimentation, focus, and time.
So, instead of using deceptive, confusing and irrational words i.e HARD WORK why not use these 4 real factual words?
Every verb or adjective we utter has a personal bias and emotions attached to it based on the life we have lived.
There are two kinds of emotions, positive or negative. So, selecting the right word for what we intend to do decides the emotions we generate. The emotions we generate decide the outcome we deliver.
I did a small experiment with my wife to study the effects different words have on us.
I asked my wife what emotions get generated when she thought of HARD WORK. Her immediate answer was stress and negative emotions.
I asked her to give me an example of HARD WORK and she said learning how to play the guitar 🎸 is HARD WORK.
I then asked her what emotions get generated when she hears Learning, Experimentation, Focus, Time ( LEFT ). Her immediate reply was Positive and inspirational.
Then I asked her to replace HARD WORK with LEFT and repeat the sentence. Then she repeated after me, playing the guitar needs Learning, Experimentation, Focus, and Time.
She repeated this sentence 3-4 times and her perspective of playing the guitar or thinking of it as something which involved a bit of pain turned into inspiration and a matter of choice and not compulsion. It made her feel empowered. She started to think about solutions. It made her think that it is very much under her control, not something which is out of her reach.
For centuries we have deprived ourselves of facing the reality by using words like Hard Work, Difficult, Challenge, and Struggle in communication with ourselves and with others
Imagine if we never taught our kids words like Hard Work, Difficult, Challenge, or Struggle and they never became aware of these words. They would just think about everything through the lens of Learning, Experimentation, Focus, and Time. This way won’t both parents and children embrace their work with great enthusiasm? Won’t they be more mindful of what work to choose to do and why to choose?
Imagine what will happen if we ban these words in the corporate environment.
No CEO will ever tell his employees that we have to do a lot of HARD WORK to be #1 in our industry. Rather he would say we need to learn, experiment, focus, spend time and be patient to be #1 in our industry.
I know it’s 3 extra words in place of 2, but don’t you think this approach is empowering, solution-driven, gives us clarity and leaves us with the choice to pursue that work or not?
So whenever you come across quotes like ” There is no substitute for hard work “, reframe it as ‘There is no substitute for Learning, Experimentation, Focus, Time ( LEFT )’
When you come across words like ” Hard work always pays off ” reframe it as “Learning, Experimentation, Focus and Time ( LEFT ) always pays off.
Let’s all pledge we will remove words like ❎❎❎Hard Work, Difficult, Challenge, and Struggle.
We will remove words that generate negative emotions from our vocabulary. They don’t serve us and pull us down. Let’s replace them with words like Learning, Experimentation, Focus, Time ( LEFT ) which serves and empowers us.
There are no positive or negative words in the world, there are words that serve us and words that don’t serve us.
There are words that drive us to a solution and there are words that keep us stuck with a problem.
So, whenever you are not achieving a goal in life or are stuck, be mindful of what words you are using with yourself or with others. Be conscious of what emotions it is generating. Make a note of whether the words you are using are solution-driven or problem-driven.
For e.g :
I have hired a professional dietician to lose weight. After engaging with her for a few weeks I realised that 2 things were coming between me and my fitness goals. 1. Sugar craving 2. FOMO about food.
So, after a few counselling sessions, I wrote a WhatsApp msg to her and it was as below :
Hi Naina, I have started realising that I am struggling with the two biggest challenges that are stopping me from achieving my fitness goals. One is sweet cravings and the other is FOMO.
Can you give me some advice on how to deal with this?
After writing this statement I realised that I am using words that are not serving me. If I keep on thinking or uttering these words I will be stuck and my progress will be delayed. So I decided to rephrase this sentence with words that serve me.
Below is how I rephrased it :
Hi Naina, I have started realising that there are two things that I have to learn to achieve my fitness goals.
1. How to handle my sweet cravings?
2. How to deal with FOMO when it comes to food?
Based on your experience and research can you suggest some steps?
To which her reply was:
Tell yourself that it is not the last time you will be seeing the food. You will be able to taste or eat the sweets again. You’re not giving it up, you are choosing to have it some other time.
Food can’t command me, I command food. Food is to nourish my body not satisfy my cravings. To satisfy my cravings a morsel is enough.
So now I am just thinking and uttering the below sentences when it comes to achieving my fitness goal.
- I command my food
- Food is to nourish my body not satisfy my cravings
- To satisfy my cravings a morsel or 1 Tbsp is enough.
There is an ancient word used by magicians during their act, ABRACADABRA
ABRACADABRA is from the ancient sacred Aramaic language. Some people say Aramaic is a language that Jesus spoke.
The meaning of this word is: What I speak is what I create. That’s the eternal truth: what we speak is what we create.
Words can uplift and words can destroy. Words can make us rich and words can make us poor.
If you observe great personalities whom you admire, listen to words they utter in their interviews. Their words are uplifting, inspiring, and generative. Now listen to people who are struggling and miserable. Listen to the words they utter, they are negative, destructive, and demoralising.
Your words control your feelings, your feelings control your emotions and your emotions will control your reality.
I wish from this moment that you always and always use the words which serve you because ABRACADABRA: what you speak is what you create.
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