Audio for Day 16
Welcome to day 16!
Today is one of my favorite parts of StarPOWER, the “W”. It stands for words, specifically the words we tell ourselves. Let’s go to the celebrities on the red carpet again to start off. I’m guessing that before they step out of the limo, they tell themselves something like, “I got this” or “Everything is going to go well.” I’m sure some have said, “I hope I don’t trip” and other negative things. I’d love to ask Jennifer Lawrence who tripped up the stairs on her way to getting her Oscar if that crossed her mind as she chose her big fishtail gown. I’m pretty sure we’ve all done it, projected something negative and it happened.
Words have power. What’s more powerful than hearing “I love you” from the right person? What a sequence of hormones the brain produces on those words! Words have caused arguments, even wars. A Japanese scientist conducted an experiment with rice to show the power of words even on an inanimate object - rice. He filled 3 jars with rice and water. Each day, he would talk to the jars.
Here’s what he said:
Jar 1: “Thank you”
Jar 2: “You're an idiot”
Jar 3: He completely ignored this jar
Over time, the first jar began to ferment with a pleasant aroma. The rice remained white. The rice in the second jar turned brown. The worst rice was that in the last jar that had been ignored. It had turned black and smelly. The only difference was in the words that were said to the various jars. They all contained the same things – rice and water.
Others have replicated this experiment and had similar results. Who can say what this all means in terms of humans. We are 80% water. Imagine how our words might be affecting us.
I was careful as a teacher to be as positive as I could even before I learned about the power of positivity. I wanted to make sure every student got some positivity sent his/her way on a regular basis so he/she wouldn't feel ignored because many are in their home lives.
Let's look at things from the brain perspective in terms of the words we say. Ever have a situation like this happen? Someone asks you to get something, say for example their keys. You’re busy online watching the latest cat video and don’t want to go. You tell them you have no idea where their keys are as you walk over to the place they usually keep them. You keep saying over your shoulder something like, “I don’t know why you’re sending me. I have no idea where they are!” followed by “the keys aren’t here”. The person who sent you comes over to you, reaches right in front of you and says, “They’re right here! What are you, blind?” Sound familiar? How often have we been unable to see something that’s right in front of us? How could that happen?
Remember your brain answers what you ask it. It also does what you tell it to do. You said that you couldn’t see the keys. So your brain - that knows your eyes are in good shape but doesn’t want to make you a liar - creates a blind spot, a scotoma. For that brief moment while you’re saying you can’t see the keys, you can’t. As soon as someone else gets into the mix, as soon as they break the blind spell you’re in, the keys are again visible.
The word blocking you? Can’t. How many times have we used that word?? More than we probably should. Now in this situation, the person couldn’t see the keys for that moment mostly because they didn’t want to be bothered to get them. But besides showing the power of the word ‘can’t, that story also brings up that whole idea of negativity in regards to our brains.
In my live seminars I ask my audience to follow my next direction. I tell them, “Don’t stay seated.” Most look around puzzled for a few seconds until someone ultimately stands up. Their brains didn’t know what to do with the ‘don’t.’ They heard ‘stay seated’ and did for a bit. Then when they had time to think, they got up. I then ask them to sit back down. A few seconds later, I say, “Stand up.” They all rise quickly. There wasn’t a negative word in the second direction so they could easily comply.
This lack of ability to quickly process negative is important in goal setting too. Keep the negatives out of the goals. Not ‘no more smoking’ but ‘smoke free’. That’s how powerful words are. But we’ll save goal setting strategies for another time, another course.
Even simple words give us trouble. Think how many times we say something about ‘having a problem.’ Take a moment to sense what it feels like in your body when you think about having a problem. Do you feel light or weighted down? Now try replacing the word ‘problem’ with the word ‘challenge’. How does the word ‘challenge’ make you feel? Still weighted down or a bit more inspired? I can feel the difference in my mind and body. One makes me feel downtrodden. The other makes me feel like a gladiator. Simple switch, great results. Try it. No more problems…just challenges that you’ll probably be up to solving. I haven’t had a problem in over 10 years… challenges, yes…but I can handle a challenge.
Here’s another great word swap. How many times do we say, “I have to” or “I should” do whatever. Those words also feel weighty, another responsibility on our shoulders. Switch ‘have’ to ‘get to’ or ‘choose to’ and I think you’ll start to notice the difference. I ‘choose to’ do something puts the power back in your hands. I ‘get to’ do something makes it feel like a privilege. Simple but really effective.
Watch out for what I call ‘drama words’ too. We commonly say things in our culture that have strong meanings. “This job is killing me” is hopefully not physically happening but it sure makes you feel worse. I think I’d go to the word ‘challenge’ again. ‘This job is such a challenge.’ It doesn’t change the job but it changes how you look at it and that’s what you’re aiming for. Positive people put themselves in control of their own personal mindset and choosing the right words is a big step in that process. And if the job is that bad, it’s time to reassess and find another way because it’s creating a flood of negativity that your body will have to absorb and deal with.
More on words tomorrow...
Today’s mission is to be on the lookout for the kind of words you commonly say that might be better if replaced, the ‘can’ts, the drama words or other negatives. Awareness is always the first step to change. You decide if you want to add them as potential pennies for your jar!
Have a wonderful day!
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next chapter.