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Self Talk - The Power of Words

One of the most powerful forces affecting the quality of our lives is the words we use. What words are you using habitually, and what effect are they having on your life?

I was in Kansas City last weekend, and two experiences there caused me to think about the incredible power of words that we use habitually in our lives, and about the effect that those words have on our behavior and on the results that we create in our lives.

I played golf Saturday morning, and my brother-in-law and I played with two people we didn’t know. As we introduced ourselves, one guy (we’ll call him Steve) said, “I’m a novice golfer. I’m just out here for the practice.” As we played, Steve made several disparaging remarks about his level of golf skill. After hitting one good shot, he
stated, “Wow, that’s not like me at all.”

What effect might more positive language have on his golf score? Now, this was not Tiger Woods, and Steve will never play on the PGA Tour. And I’m not suggesting that how he describes his game will make him a scratch golfer. But, as Earl Nightingale says, “We become what we think about most of the time.” As long as Steve tells himself that he is a novice, he will be. And if he had been thinking “I hit my approach shots over the water, and onto the green” instead of “Whatever you do, don’t hit the ball in the water,” then his ball would have had a much better chance of clearing the water, and landing on the green.

The second experience occurred as I boarded the plane to go home. I walked past the first five rows of seats—the first class section. As I made my way back to the coach section, I wondered about those people up in first class. I thought about what they did to achieve the success in life that allowed them to sit in first class. I was implying that somehow these people were “first class,” and that every else was “second class.”

This thought lasted just a fraction of a second. Intellectually, I know that some people in first class earned their tickets with frequent flyer miles, and one or two may have been moved up to first class if the flight was full, and that a couple didn’t pay for their own tickets. But how many people are going through life thinking of themselves as second class? And how many people are limiting their potential to be anything greater than that, because of the way the talk and think about themselves?

The words that you use in your life are either empowering you, or disempowering you. This is subtle, and you may not even realize it. For example, when someone greets you in the morning, and asks how you’re doing, do you respond “Not bad,” or “I’m surviving,” or something to that effect? What if you replied, “I’m outstanding, and I’m getting better land better,” and you said it will conviction and belief?

This might seem silly to you, and you might dismiss it as having no impact whatsoever on the results you create in your life. But, please, trust me on this one. One of the first steps in creating greater success in your life is to alter the way you think about yourself, and the words that you use to describe yourself. Our natural tendency is to want those results to first be created, and then we’ll start talking and thinking differently. I request that you begin thinking and talking differently, as doing so will cause your desired results to begin to occur.

There’s a classic story often told about three bricklayers, and the attitudes they had toward their jobs. When asked, “What are you doing?” the first one responded, “Laying brick.” The second replied, “Making $17.50 an hour.” The third bricklayer said, “I’m building the world’s greatest cathedral!”

Although we don’t know for sure what happened to those bricklayers, I’m guessing that the third bricklayer did not remain a bricklayer. While the first two were simply performing their jobs, the vision of the third surely had a favorable effect on his future success. Each ofthem used words to describe their work, and these words became the basis for what they thought about that work, and ultimately for what they thought about themselves.

How about you? Are you laying bricks, or building a great cathedral?What words are you using habitually, and what effect are they having on your life?


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