The Impact of Language
Henry Ford famously said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – You’re Right”
The language and the words we use have a profound impact on our success and well-being. Each of us has our own internal representations and belief structures based on the words we use. Over time we may not even realize the words we use and how they shape us and our feelings.
We control our narrative through the language we use and the inner dialogue we have with ourselves. Over time, the words we use turn into “our story” and this story ends up defining us either negatively or positively. It is not just how we speak to each other, but it is how we speak to ourselves.
Changing the words that you use, can change your meaning to the things that happen around you. They will change your internal representations and how you look at things. Changing your language, can shift your feelings to help you be more empowered, less stressed and provide a sense of calmness.
Words and their meanings can differ for every person depending on their culture, and experience. We can attach different meanings to the same word, which can cause difficulty in communicating and feelings based on that word. A change in the words you use, to describe a stressful situation, will change the meaning you attach to that word and sometimes the outcome. For example, I do not use the word “problem”. Rather than use the word problem, I now use the word “challenge”. The word challenge has a different meaning for me and therefore, by using the word “challenge”, I never have a problem. Rather than being defined by a limiting belief, the word “challenge” affords me the belief that I could overcome a particular situation where the word problem would be used.
The language we use can impact whether “we the glass as half empty or half full”. The words we use have the power to change our outlook. If I say it will not work, or it will not get better, it seldom will. We control the words we use, which in turn impacts the meaning we attach to those words.
How do we change our narrative? I believe the quality of our lives boils down to quality of the questions we ask. I can ask what went wrong or what could be better, or what is good about this problem or situation? Another way to change your narrative is to add the word “yet” to any situation. For example, “I did not get promoted, yet?” and “I have not taken a vacation, yet” The word “yet” gives you the ability to not internally attach finality to any outcome or meaning by the words you use. Our internal dialogue and how we speak to ourselves can lead to self-doubt. Changing our thoughts starts by how we speak to ourselves. Changing our words will change our meaning and ultimately change your feelings, outcomes and your narratives.