Be Careful of Your Disempowering Language

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Language is a potent force than can influence your mind. What we say to ourselves or what we accept as the gospel truth from others, seeps into our subconscious mind, thereby becoming our reality. The words we use become magnetised into our thoughts to become our actions.  They influence our success or failure, happiness or sadness, abundance or scarcity. William Gibson once said that “language is to the mind more than light is to the eye”.

Take careful look at words you use ….

1. Everything will be okay

This statement is common in the community where I grew up. When things turn difficult financially, relationally or when life does not gel for any other reason, I hear my fellow Africans saying, “ho tla loka” (everything will be okay). At face value, this seems to be a positive statement that communicates optimism, however the emotion and body language accompanying it suggests pessimism of the worst kind.  When said, you can immediately sense non-conviction or lack of belief that things will indeed get better. I call this a “self-pity” statement that lacks energy, commitment and action to turn things around. It demonstrates that a person is in a dilemma and does not have options, recommendations or advice. This is a statement in passing and will never have action attached to it. Things do not and will not be “okay” by and of themselves. Instead of just saying these words, say that I am changing my life right now and immediately develop a plan that you will kick start into action.

2. Things are tough out there

This is a statement of accepting defeat before the battle has started.  People who use this language are dead in the water and cannot see progress beyond where they are.  They hardly see any possibilities and options, but challenges. People who use this language can only see the hill but do not realise that beyond its downhill. It’s a language of comfort and safe space instead of taking the bull by the horns. The language of fighters and boundary pushers is that come hell or high waters, I will reach my destination.  As Robert Schuller said, you got to realise that “tough times never last but tough people do”.

3. We cannot all be successful

Every time I hear this statement, I can immediately discern the position that the other person has chosen for their lives. It’s a silent admission that the person has already retired their dreams, aspirations and goals to a life of pessimism, mediocrity and scarcity. This is a message written in bold letters to self, that others can be successful but not me. I wonder what criteria do such people use to determine who becomes successful and who does not. It is defeat fed to the subconscious level of the mind and becomes the spoken language. This might be true for others but not for dreamers and success driven people. Success driven people call the things that are not as if they were. They know that words and actions will work in a joint venture to deliver success.  They visualise success and affirm it into existence before it could realise. They can see light at the end of the tunnel.

4. No one has done it before

These words always remind me of Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot. The two characters, Vladimir and Estragon wait for the arrival of another character called Godot who never arrives. Many people live their lives empty, waiting for Godot to come and do something for them.  Even if Godot were to come and do it many people will still live in denial that no one has done it before. The true reason is that people do not have guts, strength and willpower to change their lives. Imagine how the world would have been if Napoleon Hill did not take up the recommendation by Andrew Carnegie to study successful people.  If he allowed doubt and fear to gain root, we could not have had great principles laid out in his book, Think and Grow Rich. If Thomas Edison had thought that no one has developed the electric light bulb, who knows how the world could have been? You are a success waiting to happen only if you believe and speak truth to power. Be the one to do it even if no one has done it before because it is possible.

5. Money follows money

Given the structural divide that South Africa comes from and if all people in townships thought this way, we could not have produced the self-made millionaires or entrepreneurs such as Mr Maponya, The Kunene Brothers, The Headbouys and the multibillion Stokvel industry where the poor uplift each other out of dire poverty. Overtime, I have come to realise that it is not necessarily about the money. It is about financial literacy and the money blue print that each defines for ourselves. If you currently do not have money and you verbalise that money follows money and that is your belief system, you will die in dire poverty.  How did the people who have money attain it? Have they all inherited it elsewhere? Are they all from well to do families?  Yes, some have inherited money, however if their money blue print is that money should be shown the exit door the moment it arrives, they sooner find themselves where they were before they received it. At the same time, not all people inherit the monies they have or come from well to do families.  You must create your own money conditions and think and talk differently about it.

I truly believe that language is powerful and it can be used to influence our lives for the better. Catch yourself saying something and pause to find out if it is empowering or disempowering.

Comment, like and share this article and in that way, we grow together.

Tex Hlalele

Think Big, Dream Wild & Prosper

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