I am sure you all have met this fantastic guy. He always seems to be successful, no matter what he does. A lot of things are happening around him all the time. He finishes one project after another, and there seems to be no end to it. He makes things happen.
Have you ever wondered how he does that? Where does he get his energy from? Maybe you wish you had a little of whatever he has got?
He knows that the words he is using control his actions. He has learned to use words that power him, which make him deliver results. He has used them so many times now, so they have become fully automatic.
The words he is using actually program his actions. His subconscious mind picks up the meaning of the words, and acts on them. If he uses words that tell him the correct procedure for reaching the goal, he will reach it. Often we unintentionally use the wrong words, and this leads us to failure. He understands this, and knows what words he shall use. But what words does he use in order to be that successful?
You will in this article learn the words he is using, as well as a few other tricks. When you start using them you will find that you also have much greater success in reaching your goals.
Use Better Words
The first thing I want you to become aware of are the words you are using. When you are about to do something, a task, what words do you use? What words do you use when you are talking, and when you are thinking? Do you see it as a problem that needs to be solved? Will it be difficult to solve, and will it take long time? Or does it feel exciting, and it can take as long time as needed? How you feel about your task depends a lot on the words you are using.
Have you ever noticed that there are words which almost mean the same thing? Words that are almost synonyms, and have the same meaning. They only differ by their polarisation, whether you perceive them as positive or negative. For instance, how do you feel about the word “problem”? I am sure you feel resistance towards the word. Do you feel the same about “challenge”? It sounds more fun, doesn’t it?
Has it occurred to you that “problem” and “challenge” really are the same thing, except with different polarisation? A “problem” is perceived as more negative than “challenge”. A “problem” is perceived as very difficult, and as something that you are not sure is possible to solve. A “challenge” is perceived as something positive, an opportunity to show that you are good enough, and feels more hopeful. Above all it feels like something you want to achieve, rather than something you just want to get rid of.
The polarisation of the words you use determine how motivated you become. By using more positive words you get more energy.
What would happen if you, every time you were about to say “problem”, instead you said “challenge”? What would that change? Can you notice the difference between the two sentences “I had a problem with my car, but I fixed it” and “I had a challenge with my car, and I fixed it”? The last sentence sounds more positive than the first one, and you get more energy. What would happen if you turned all your problems into challenges? Much more fun to deal with, don’t you agree?
You have now learned about the difference between the words “problem” and “challenge”. They are very similar, except one of them is more positive than the other. I now want you to start listening to your own words, the words you are using, and I want you to listen to them both when you are thinking and when you are talking. As soon as you hear yourself use the word “problem”, stop immediately, and correct yourself by saying “challenge” instead. You will immediately feel the difference. This simple change of words is very significant! It completely changes the perception of what you are about to do.
By the way, did you notice that I also changed “but” into “and”? The word “and” is perceived as more positive than “but”, and that amplifies the positive effect of the sentence.
You may find your that your challenge still is difficult, even if it is no longer a problem, and the reason is that you don’t quite know how to fix the car. Now, rather than having a challenge that is difficult, I suggest you let the challenge become “less easy”. Suddenly it seems much simpler. You now have a challenge that is less easy, rather than a difficult problem. Same task, but your perception of it is totally different, and definitely more fun. Now you just have to get your favourite car repair handbook and find out what to do.
When changing words you must never create untrue sentences. You must always be true. Don’t say “I was happy to have a challenge with my car, and I fixed it”, unless of course if you really were happy about it.
When you change the words, what you really are doing is to change your perception of what has to be done, from difficult to easier, but without changing the meaning of the words. When you perceive it as easier, it also becomes easier to reach your goal.
Here are the most common words for you to change:
takes a long time
can not do
can not learn
could be done quickly
can not do yet or can learn to do
difficult to learn
Every time you hear yourself using one of these words, stop yourself, and replace the word with the more positive one. Notice the difference in your perception of the word. Can you think of other good word replacements that will help you?
Notice how these replacements opens up for the possibility to actually reach your goal.
Should – Want To
Also notice when you hear the word “should”. Like in “I should workout to gain more muscles”. The word “should” is tricky, because what it really means is that it is someone else’s opinion. Someone also may have said it to you, or you may think that someone else holds that opinion. But the meaning is that someone else thinks you should do it. It is not your own opinion. In addition you will probably feel guilty if you don’t do it. Guilt is one of the worst motivators you could have. As soon as you hear yourself using the word “should”, stop yourself and find out where you got this “should” from. Maybe it is a public opinion? Is it good for you to do so? Do you want to do so?
The words “want to” are much more powerful, because they mean that it is your own opinion, your own free will. When you can say these words, you know you are following your own will, and that gives you significantly more energy. “I want to workout to gain more muscles”. Can you feel the difference in this sentence? But you should only say it if you really mean it. But watch out! If you replace “should” with “want to”, you don’t just change the polarisation. You change the whole meaning of the sentence! Avoid that.
Also watch out for the tiny word “not”. It is a sneaky word, because you cannot visualize “not”. There is no picture for it. You cannot visualise not doing something. When you try, you will instead visualise what you don’t want, which makes you get what you don’t want. This may sound complicated, so let me explain with an example.
You are holding a cup of coffee in your hand, and say to yourself “I will not spill the coffee”. What kind of picture do you get of this? You probably create a picture of yourself spilling coffee, and thinking about avoiding it. By saying that sentence you actually program yourself to spill the coffee. You will make it more likely that you will spill the coffee, and that is not what you want. Instead say “I will hold the cup steady, so the coffee remains in it”. This is something you can visualise, and program yourself to keep the coffee in the cup.
Here is another example. A while ago I was practicing archery. One of the other archers had a problem that, just as he had tensioned the bow and was releasing the arrow, he pulled his hand straight out from his cheek, making the arrow go wrong, and he missed the target. He kept repeating to himself “Now I will not pull the hand straight out”, and was very surprised that he kept pulling the hand straight out, even though he said he wouldn’t. I understood that he was programming himself for failure, so I suggested to him to instead say “Now I will pull the hand back”. He tested to do as I had suggested, and he was immediately much more successful.
What could happen if you were standing on the edge of a tall cliff, and were saying to yourself “I will not fall down”. Can you see yourself actually falling down? Quite scary. Use “I will stay on the cliff” instead, to stay safe.
The word “not” makes you focus on things you do not want. Instead think about what you want. Change “I do not want to be poor” to “I want to be rich”. Same meaning, but the latter is much more goal oriented, and you get a clearer image of your goal. It is much easier to imagine yourself being wealthy than not being poor.
See the Goal and Not the Work
When you have a goal, involving a lot to be done before you reach it, you may make the mistake to see it as a lot of work that has to be done, all at the same time. Suddenly the task seems very huge and heavy.
You will benefit greatly by focusing on the goal, and not the work involved. For instance, imaging yourself building a house. You think about creating the foundation, walls, roof, building the rooms, to floor, and much more. You may not yet know everything that has to be done. It feels like an awful lot of work.
How would it feel like if you instead would visualize the goal, as if you are already there? A house that is already built, finished in all details, and all you needed to do is to open the front door and enter? All rooms are complete, and look exactly the way you want them to be. The colours are the right ones, and your favourite couch is in the living room, ready for you to take your afternoon nap. With this picture in your head, you have a beautiful vision driving you forward. A vision like that will take you very far.
You may be working towards a huge goal. Visualise what it looks like when you have arrived at your goal, just as if it is already ready. See what it looks like, feel yourself touching the surfaces, notice the scents, and walk around admiring your goal. Feel the great joy in having reached your goal. More than anything else this will motivate you to reach it. The more glorious emotions you can add to your picture, the more you will want to work towards your goal. You can learn more about this in What Drives Us to Do Certain Things But Not Others?.
I knew when starting this blog that it would involve a great deal of work. I had to make a good web design and write good articles so that people would stay, and I would have to find out how to make people to discover the blog. My goal was to create a blog, where I could share everything I knew about how to create an amazing life with as many people as possible. That was my goal, my wonderful dream. It filled me with so much joy, so I didn’t see it as work, it was merely something that had to be done to accomplish my dream. When I had written my first articles I got very positive feedback from many people. They told me how much they enjoyed reading my articles, and this gave me even more energy to continue. This made it really fun! I am now well on my way to create that dream.
Take Small Steps
Eventually you will get started towards your goal, and I assume there is a lot of work to be done. You may be tempted to start with everything at once, starting on one task and doing a little on that, proceeding with another task and doing a little on that, and so on, and then resume with the first task again. Eventually you will get everything done. You will soon find that you are working a lot all the time, and nothing ever seems to become finished. After having working like this for some time, you feel you have had it, and stop, maybe permanently.
Every time you start working on a task, it takes a little time to get you started, before you are at full speed. This happens every time you change to another task, and you lose valuable time and energy. Further, you can really feel the whole burden of all the tasks, especially since nothing ever gets finished. You become worn out.
You will find it easier of you break down the job into small steps, many of them, each contributing to reach the big goal. This will make it much simpler to get started. Start with one or a few steps at a time, and finish them before proceeding with more steps. There may be some steps that you are not clear about yet, that you haven’t worked out the details for. Wait with those steps, until they have become clearer, and take the known steps. When you have finished a step, you get a good feeling that you are actually going somewhere, and this encourages you to continue.
In this example I made the mistake to start with everything at once, and ended up in a mess. Later I discovered how to proceed.
Many years ago, I had just bought the house in which I am now living. I decided to refurbish it, and it didn’t start well. I started tearing down the wallpaper in all the rooms, and this was quite a quick job. Then I started to putty the walls, in order to wallpaper them. When I had wallpapered the first room, and it had dried, I noticed quite a lot of bubbles on the wallpaper, and it did not look good at all.
I had to start over by tearing down the fresh wallpaper, and this time all the underlaying wallpapers too, not just the first one. These were jamming, and took very long time for me to remove. Suddenly the job had become very much larger, and thinking about finishing it all now felt incredibly tiresome, and I stopped abruptly.
Until I began focusing on getting just the current room ready. I finally got that room properly finished, and the new wallpaper looked good. After that I took another room, and when that was done I took a few weeks break, to do something else, until I felt motivated again to continue. It all took much longer than I had calculated from the beginning, but finally it was all finished. My big mistake was to underestimate how big the whole job was, and trying to do it all in one big step. Instead I should have started with one room and finished it, before starting with the next. I certainly learned from my mistake.
I can only find one advantage with having started to refurbish all rooms at the same time. This gave me no choice. All the rooms now looked terrible, so I had to finish all rooms, or it would look terrible forever. There was no way I could skip refurbishing a room, because “it looked good enough”. And the result is that today all the rooms look really good.
When you start practicing this, you will find that in the beginning you need to focus on your words and thoughts most of the time. Learn one thing at time. Learn to replace one word at time, until you become confident with it. Then proceed with the next one. After a while this will become routine for you. You begin to do it automatically. Then you will notice remarkable results!
The words you use when you think and talk are very significant. By replacing negative words with positive ones, like substituting “problem” with “challenge”, it will feel more accomplishable for you.
Watch out for the word “should”. It means that someone else wants this. The word “want to” means that you want it.
Define positive goals, and don’t use negations. It is better to say “I want to be rich” than “I do not want to be poor”.
For huge goals with a lot of work involved, focus on the goal you want to achieve. Feel the wonderful emotion of having reached it.
Take small steps, one at a time, each one easy to accomplish, in order to reach your goal.
And most important – have fun!
What are your best tips for using better words? Please comment below.
To learn more about the power of your words, I recommend you to read Tim Brownson’s excellent guest post Why Changing Your Language Can Change Your Life.