Words, words, words. Research by Louann Brizendine of the University of California indicates that on average, women speak 20,000 words per day and men speak 7,000. I share this to point out how many opportunities we have as men and women to create positive or negative energy with what we say. Our words can be uplifting or demoralizing; they can be helpful or hurtful, and they can be passive or aggressive. In my opinion one of the most important things to remember is that what we speak is an affirmation.
As entrepreneurs and for everyone in general, we want our affirmations to be positive. Affirmations have power. They pattern our conscious and subconscious minds. The seemingly innocent things we say are cumulative and can have a profound impact on our lives. Let us look at some of the “benign” statements that are made every day.
“I didn’t have time . . .” I have been working hard to eliminate from my vocabulary any reference to not having enough time. I realize that I make a choice about how I spend my time and I am not somehow under its spell. Sure, there are things that do not get finished, but I chose which tasks those were. Understanding this has helped me become much more adept at prioritizing what I do each day.
“I can’t do . . .” This one is dangerous. The more we say this, the easier it becomes to admit defeat – and “I can’t” is clearly the flag of surrender. As cliché as it may seem, I try to replace “I can’t” with my childhood memory of the 1930 story by Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could. I have decided that I would rather “think I can,” try and fail, than “think I can’t” and not try at all.
“I’m sick.” I refuse to acknowledge this. It is true that I may get a sniffle from time-to-time, but I am not about to affirm that I have succumbed to ill health. If I do feel a bit under the weather, I will affirm that I am healthy and whole. That, along with lifestyle changes I have made, powers me past whatever may be trying to ail me.
“I hate . . .” I am guilty on this one and realize that I need to change. I say things like “I hate red lights, idiot drivers and incompetent bureaucrats.” Unfortunately, there is a touch of anger – albeit fleeting – that is present when I say, “I hate.” And anger – even a short and subtle burst – can have a physiological effect on our bodies. A combination of brain chemistry and muscular response can weaken our immune systems.
“Why did this happen to me?” There are a multitude of variations of victim-speak. “He/she screwed me,” or “I didn’t win the contract because my competitor is unscrupulous.” I have been working for years to recognize the fact that I am in control of my own destiny, and I am not about to give my power to others, especially through verbal (and negative) affirmations. If I lose it is going to be of my own doing and not because of someone else.
That which we affirm has a higher probability of manifesting than that which we do not. Why then would we want to affirm anything but positive results for ourselves?
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.