Open Your Words

703. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It is an old theme but has floated to the surface of many conversations this week: language is not passive. The language you use orients you to the world.

A few nights ago, Judy and I talked about the power of language, particularly paying attention to language that “closes” as opposed to language that “opens.” For instance, to say, “I can’t” is to use language that closes you to possibility. To say, “I wonder…” is to use language that opens you to possibility. Try it. Pay attention to whether you use language that opens or language that closes you to possibility. Make a game of interpreting your world according to opening to possibilities and pay attention to how your worldview changes.

In another example, Skip helps his students be conscious of their left-brain language of measurement. When they ask if something is good or bad, best or optimal, he’ll ask them to rephrase it so the emphasis is not on a measurement, not on a judgment, but on the engagement. A wine is not “better” or “worse,” it is an experience; describe the experience. Open. Participate. Judgment or measurement removes you from the experience. Step in. Move into the other side of you brain. Judy tells me that she asks students if a choice is “skillful” or “useful” rather than good or bad. Discernment is different than judgment.

It seems like such a small thing. Plenty of people dismiss the notion that their language has power; they tell me that life happens. It does indeed! Life happens and then we story it. We give meaning to our experiences. We interpret our lives. The color, shape, texture, movement, and power we experience are according to the story that we tell.

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