The Power of the Words You Use
‘A picture paints a thousand words’ as the saying goes. I guess some pictures do exactly that. For me I look at it the other way round. Why? because words create pictures in the mind.
Words are my living (Well, a big part of it). I listen intently to what people say to me when I am coaching; the words they use to describe problems, situations and other things happening in their life. I even listen with great interest to past experiences and future hopes.
The words people use paint a great picture to how that person thinks and perceives the world about them.
In another area of my work I use words to influence behavior through copywriting (The art of selling through the written word). Whether they be for an advert, a landing page, a sales letter, video script or a webinar. The power of the words I use, and others use too, never ceases to amaze. I have, quite literally, generated millions of dollars in revenue for various companies using my knowledge and adeptness of words.
You will more than likely know that words can build healthy relationships and allow you to declare your love for someone in a 1001 different and romantic ways. And they also have the power to leave scars in hearts that for some, can be difficult to heal.
One nasty sentence can kill trust stone cold dead in a moment. One scathing, cutting comment can be carried around as a grudge for donkeys years by some. Other times, a kind word can lift someone’s spirits instantly. Such is the power of words.
Can words do this?
Words can carry such tremendous power that one scientist (who coincidentally goes by the name of Dr. David R Hamilton), claims in a study he conducted and published in his wonderful book It’s The Thought That Counts, that the mere tagging of positive or negative written words to plants substantially altered their growth. For better or worse.
Is that true? I have no idea but he does put forth a compelling argument for his theory through his various studies. Plus, he also seems like a pleasant guy.
Which brings me nicely round to the words you use.
How do you describe your past? How do you paint your future with the words that you use? Do you regularly use the word ‘but’. “I would go out and look for another job but….” “I would like to earn more money but…” “Yes I understand the advice you are giving but…” and such like?
The words you use have a direct influence on your experiences and outcomes
Do things such as bad drivers always really annoy you or make your blood boil with rage? Or maybe they irritate you beyond belief? Do you refer to always being depressed or you always get let down by everybody? Do you state, I can never do this, or never do that? Do you constantly refer to Monday mornings as detestable? Is work really getting you down and stressing you out, all the time?
In Notes From a Friend by Tony Robbins, he explains about changing your words so you can alter your perception and therefore what you experience (and behaviour). I took his advice many years ago. Now, things do not ‘really irritate me’. I no longer ‘hate things with a passion’.
Let me assure you that this type of language is destructive. Words also paint pictures in the mind which is how your brain interprets what you tell it with the words you use.
Yes, the words you use to describe events – past, present and future – have a direct bearing on your experiences and your outcomes.
(And if you have young children, your words are conditioning them how they perceive the world too. So please be extra watchful around young ears!)
Be mindful of the words you use for the next few days and see if you can recognize any of the above examples cropping up in your conversations and if so, how often? By simply and persistently changing the words we use to describe events or past and present experiences that occur in our lives, we can change the perceived reality and enhance our well being. And ultimately, increase our chances of success and happiness.
Try it and see.
For now I need to go and look up what an asshole is. I got called it today. Funny.