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How to Use the Power of Words to Your Benefit
Someone I know maintains that "motivational words are great coming from philosophers, but that's because they're not in the real world." The power of words can be an incredible aid to helping us remain motivated and focused.
Abraham Lincoln certainly was in the "real world". So was Henry Ford. Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, John Kehoe, and so the list goes on.
For most of us, the words we read have little impact on us and our lives, and especially on the setting of our goals. Here I hope to offer another way to look at words, and hopefully give the value of what words can mean with our goals and our lives.
The enormous amount of motivational material available - books, articles, motivational quotes - can (and does) help us to develop a positive attitude. But this does not occur by reading them as a novel or short story, that is, reading it once, and then never returning to the material.
When we use the concept known as spaced repetition, which is the reading of material repeatedly, but with breaks in between, words, and in particular motivational words become a powerful aid. This has an exceptional effect on our subconscious mind (and also works well with learning new material).
How much effort is there in that?
To use an example, consider the following motivational quote: "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it." Let's consider how these words can help us to develop a positive attitude, and as result make us more content.
"If you don't like something, change it."
Example, are you in a job that absolutely drains you mentally, and emotionally? Have you seriously looked at changing jobs? And here the key word is "seriously". Do we really investigate all our options? Do we consider dropping in salary (in the short term), but have work that stimulates us? Do we make a concerted effort to look for other positions?
Now for the second part. "If you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
Do we have any control over the petrol price? Do we have any control over getting a flat tyre? There is no way in the world we can change these occurrences by moaning about them.
Too often we throw up our hands in frustration, or drop our head in desperation. And what is the value of that? Does it rectify the problem? Absolutely not! So why do we allow outside influences to affect us detrimentally? Accept that which you have no control over, and your attitude will soar proportionately.
In practice, using spaced repetition, committing these words to memory, when the occasion arises, we almost automatically retrieve these words and the whole situation looks entirely different.
This is where the value of words comes into its own. A while ago, while pulling away from a traffic light, I was too slow for the driver behind me. He hooted and showed me to move. My first reaction was to become annoyed, and I was "talking" to him - in no uncertain terms. Then I asked myself what effect does that have on the situation? And realizing this I relaxed I continued on my journey. By the time I reached my destination, I had all but forgotten the incident.
Words can be of real value to us, if we use them correctly. Give it a try, and see the effect it has on your attitude, and on you as a person.
As Rudyard Kipling said: "Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind."
Make it your goal to...
Find a motivational quote and write this down. Give it a read at least twice a day - you'll be surprised at the results.
About the Author
Bostrom on Superintelligence (6): Motivation Selection Methods - Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
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