This is a really good exposé of using imprecise language in self-talk and communication with others that leads to poor performance/results in practically every situation.
I always liked playing with words and as long as I remember was good at science. I always liked math equations and poetry. They are not mutually exclusive and very similar the way I see them. To me phrases were equations and words were the numbers. Writing poetry for me was an exercise in language precision. The precise meaning is not only makes ones speech more understandable but also makes ones’ thinking clearer. For example “I am tired of…” can explain lot things. Are you really tired when you say “I am tired of such and such?” Is it possible that you are not tired at all but frustrated of something coming your way again? Or is it possible that you want to stop something from happening again? I am frustrated is not the same as “I am tired.” The God is in words and so is Devil! Why it is important to speak and think clearly? Because it will change the way you feel, behave and act. When you say “I believe”, do you mean “I suspect”, or “I hope”, or “I know”? They are not the same.
One can believe in his abilities but one cannot “believe” in pre-Honeymoon. Pre-Honeymoon is concept that you may agree or disagree, approve or disapprove. But it is not something you can believe in. When we transfer the meaning, or mix it, or substitute the words our world runs out of control and order. Speaking clearly means thinking clearly. “Clean up your room!” to a child may mean sweeping the dust, putting empty can into a bin, vacuuming the floor or many other things. They all fit the description. You might as well say “Get busy!” That will cover them all and will expand the meaning even further. Once any of those actions was preformed the child feels that he is done. “Order and organize your room!” is still broad but you will get better results. The broader the term the less we have a control of the results we get. I teach my children to be exact with words and pay attention to them. Unfortunately they do not share my feelings about poetry and math. So I play a game with them. It’s a game that has serious intentions. If a child says “Can I see it?” I answer: “You sure can” and do nothing because he just asked if he physically was able to do so. So I expressed my opinion as an answer. Now he starts thinking about the question he asked. Did he really want to possess an object for a moment? If so, he might say “May I see it closer?” or “May I have it for a minute?” The response (answer) is always right. The signal or a question in this case is wrong. If you did not like what you got then change the signal.
The word is not only a communication tool. It is also a behavioral programming tool. The words we choose to describe our experiences program us in return. If you say ‘I am tired… of such’, you will feel tired. If you say “I am frustrated…” you will feel that way. Stop for moment to describe to yourself what is your experience. Did you really mean “I dislike the fact that this issue re-appeared?” If so then you are neither tired nor frustrated. And you are precise! The wider variety of words and phrases you use, the more exact they are to describe your experience, the richer and more organized your world become. Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) is something we do to ourselves every day of our existence. We owe to teach it to our children. Words are beautiful. They can change ones’ life. The inner self and outer self are intimately connected. Not only we send signals but we receive them all the time. If your surrounding is abstracted by broken or disorganized object, rubbish etc. you inner self receives signals from them and reacts in some way. The more things you possess the less space you have for yourself and for new things to come into your life. Possessions require your attention and maintenance. Unattended things (cloth, books, and toys) become orphans that make your life disorganized. If we learn to chose possessions as carefully as we choose the words to describe our experiences we would make our inner and outer world a better place. We’d create a harmony.
By Pavel Agafonov Social Commentator