Effects of words on our results in life

THE EFFECTS OF THE USE OF WORDS ON OUR LIVES

effects of words Words are powerful and their use has influenced key people throughout history.  Here are a few examples:

– Malcolm X (human rights activist) read the dictionary from cover to cover to improve his literary education.

– W.H. Auden (Anglo American poet) famously said if he were marooned on a desert island, he would choose to have with him a good dictionary rather than “the greatest literary masterpiece imaginable.”

– Melvin Bragg (English broadcaster and author) once said, “When we lose a language, we lose a way of knowing the world”.

Language shapes our thinking.

Words comprise the language we use every day and it’s how we interact with the world around us.  Do you want to change that world around you? If so, then the first step is to simply change how you use your language.

A simple technique to consider is that for the next thirty days you use at least one new word a day and notice how it affects you.  Make it simple by picking a sensory-based word, i.e. visual, auditory or feeling words. What will you start to notice by adding these to your language? You will begin to realise that these words have always been there but you have been deleting[1] them.

  • – Visual words will allow you to start to see new things around you.
  • – Auditory words you will enable you to start to hear new things around you.
  • Feeling or emotion words will start to create different moods and sensations.

Isn’t that incredible?  My new words for today are “Varoom” (auditory – instantaneous sound of a noise like an explosion or car engine roaring to life) and “Scintillating” (visual – flashes of light or sparks.).  Hey, it’s going to be an exciting day!

There are no small words.

Small words have a magnetic pull on your behaviour. For example when someone says, “I should have the report on your desk by Monday” what is the likelihood that you will have that report on time? What that person is actually saying is “I am not going to do the report in that timescale”.  When somebody says, “I must wash the car” what is the likelihood that they will wash the car? What they really mean is “the car needs washing but not by me”.

In these circumstances, what you really want someone to say positively is: “The report will be on your desk by Monday” and “I will wash the car”.  If you listen carefully and pay close attention to precisely what is being said you will be able to tell if someone is committed to act and follow through.

Let’s take the word ‘try’ which means ‘to attempt to do or accomplish’.  This very definition implies failure. You know what it’s like when you organise a party and Tony says “I will try and make it”, well who is the one person most likely not to turn up? Do you find yourself saying, “I will try and diet” or “I am trying to be good” in which case you have set yourself up for failure.  In order to succeed it is important to reframe the context and positively say instead “I am on a diet” or “I am good”.

What you say matters.

Just in these few simple but impactful examples we can note that words resonate through our unconscious minds and that we use these to filter and create a map of our own world.

As we become habitual in our language we become habitual in our thoughts. Change the lyrics to the song you sing each day and you change your thinking patterns. If you change your thinking you change your behaviour and you will transform your life.

Now, I’m off to go and read the dictionary and leave you to start thinking about words you can use to positively change your world.  Could it be a flash of inspiration, a resounding thought or the thrust of an idea?


[1] Deletions: we unconsciously process some 2 million sensory inputs at any one time. During this process we delete, distort and generalise our sensory input to filter these into a more consciously manageable level.

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