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The Power of Words

On April 14, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 


This video is a brilliant example of the power of words and communication.  We are only human, creatures of habit, and products of our environment – often our affinity for believing we know best or we know the truth about something prevents us from taking action. When you want something, do you simply ask curiously, or are you asking with a judgement that you won’t receive it?  When something is confusing, do you ask for clarification, or do you seek validation that your opinion is correct?

Here’s an example:

Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Kelly: “Don’t you think that’s a stupid idea? Aren’t you worried about your bills? What will people think?”

vs.

Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Marie: “Wow! Pete, that’s quite an idea! How did you come to this decision? Do you have a plan already?”

Clearly, Marie feels a little friendlier than Kelly, right? Kelly believes that Pete is making a stupid decision, and because she knows best, her questions will feel like statements, i.e. “that’s a stupid idea, you need to worry about your bills, and what people think.” Can you notice the difference in responses between Marie and Kelly.  Which do you find your responses resemble most often?

I know we’ve all been in a situation where someone may say something and we immediately react with judgmental questions. Instead of asking why to that person, we ask why on Earth would you want to do something like that?. The tone and judgment are much louder than the words.

So Blake, what’s the moral of the story here?

There are stories all around you. Which stories are you actually hearing?  How are you responding? The words you use can make a big difference in how you’re received. I invite you to find examples in the world around you, and change the words. Notice any difference in emotion. Did you feel any different when the words in the video above changed? Would you have given your change?

This is a beautiful life, my friends. Sometimes it just takes the right words to express it.

What words do you use to describe your beautiful life?

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