Theodore Roosevelt, of the greatest Presidents, when meeting new people, would shake them by the hand energetically and proclaim loudly and sincerely that he was “deeeelighted to meet them!” You can almost hear that exclamation mark! He was larger than life and through the sheer force of his character, pulled America firmly into the vanguard of the 20th century. Roosevelt knew the power of language and the power of using positive, optimistic, and forceful language.
Think about how often we use weak language, both to other people and to your own self. How often, when someone asks you how you are, do you reply: “Not bad”, or “pretty good”, or “okay”. How about trying a Teddy Roosevelt, and proclaiming yourself “Fantastic!”, or “Excellent!”, or “Having an exceptional day!”?
Now you might think that on some days you might not be feeling fantastic or exceptional and that saying so might be a lie. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice as even saying these very positive words can have an uplifting and enlivening impact on your mood.
Say it now with me: “I’m having a fantastic day thanks!”. Repeat it again and say it with conviction. Come on, once more with feeling!
How do you feel? I bet you feel better than you did a minute ago. It’s much like the effect of smiling that we saw in the last post.
How was the food? Instead of “it was fine”, try “it was delicious!”.
How did that project go? Instead of “it’s challenging”, try “it’s an invigorating challenge and still hunting for solutions!”
It might sound like spin to you, but it has a powerful, positive impact. It’s the opposite of complaining. Complaining hurts those hearing it and it hurts those saying it. This is the opposite of that. You’re actively managing positivity around you; yours and other peoples’.
We see the power of positive language most often in sport. Where boxers never contemplate defeat. Their training has always gone ‘incredibly’. ‘To plan’. ‘Best shape I’ve ever been in’.
It’s the sphere of ‘self-talk’ where we need to police our negative language and instead use the power of positive. optimistic language. When you say to yourself, “I can’t do that”, you reinforce to yourself that you actually can’t do that. Or worse “I’m no good at that”. Or “I’m useless/worthless/a loser”. Try this: even if you don’t believe that, say the preceding sentence. How did that go? Didn’t you feel instantly much worse? Did your shoulders hunch forward? Did your head go down slightly? Did you feel a bit more like a loser? Yes? That’s the power of language. You can harness it for good or bad. How about we harness it for the good it can do us?
Try it today. Watch the words you use to others and to yourself. Instead of weak words, use superlatives. Instead of caveating everything you say, say “I’m having an exceptional day, learning new things and rising to new challenges!”. Speak with exclamation marks!
Let me know how you get on in the comments!