While speaking in Japan, I was taught one of their ancient proverbs: “The tongue is but three inches long, yet it can kill a man six feet high.”
Put another way, your tongue is a little thing that makes a big difference. In fact, it is one of the most important keys to your success (or lack of success) in life, at work, and in your relationships.
And this is not some new, faddish pop psychology. Even the Bible said the same thing three thousand years ago said, “The tongue can bring death or life.”
The good news is you can learn how to harness your tongue, watch your words, and choose to say things that will create a better future for you. Try these tips for starters.
► 1. Accept the fact that your words matter.
All too often, people dismiss the power of the words they use.
When they put themselves down, for example, they may say, “That’s just the way I am … It’s no big deal.”
No, those are extremely dangerous self-fulfilling prophecies. Because you cannot outperform your own words. You can take all the seminars you want, get all the degrees and certifications you’d like, and go to years of counseling, but the fact remains that you will never go any further or move beyond what you tell yourself.
In a sense, your words become frozen reality. And you, like everybody else, have words etched in your soul that have become frozen realities. Those words are either serving you or enslaving you.
Accept the fact that your words matter. They really REALLY do!!
► 2. Don’t talk about losing.
The happiest, most successful people refuse to use a loser’s language. They know that words precede results. They know if they talk like a loser, they’ll end up losing. That’s why George Schultz, the former U.S. Secretary of State said, “The minute you start talking about what you’re going to do if you lose, you have lost.”
So don’t talk that way. Stop it!!!
The research is clear. The more you talk about losing or failing to meet your goals, if you’re a salesperson, for example, the more negative your attitude becomes. And the more negative your attitude becomes, the poorer your results will be. It’s a vicious downward cycle that you must refuse to enter.
By contrast, if you refuse to acknowledge defeat, it will be very difficult if not impossible to be defeated. You’re pretty much guaranteed to win in the long run.
It’s like the little boy who walked onto the baseball field saying, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.” He threw up the ball, swung, missed, and said, “Strike one.” He threw up the ball again, and once more he swung and missed, and said, “Strike two.” He did that for three strikes in a row.
At that point he picked up his bat and ball. With a smile on his face, he walked off the field and said, “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world.” He refused to use the language of a loser. He only talked about winning and so should you.
► 3. Don’t use a loser’s language.
Many people tend to be their own worst enemy because they use a loser’s language. Throughout the day, they tell themselves such things as,
I’ll never get this right…
I can’t lose weight…
I’m not that smart…
I can’t quit smoking…
I just can’t save any money…
I don’t have the energy I used to have…
I’ll never get ahead …
I’ve always been this way
I always attract losers…
I’m no good at math… and
I can’t change.
Such negative self-talk CAN and WILL sabotage your best intentions and most vigorous efforts each and every time … because you perform exactly as you see yourself. As I said before, you literally cannot outperform your own self-talk. Your words determine what you can and cannot accomplish.
There is good news, however. As Kate Larsen, author of Progress Not Perfection, declares, “When you monitor your self-talk, you unleash your greatest potential and shut down your most severe critic — yourself.”
When you catch yourself thinking or uttering negative self-talk, tell yourself forcefully, “Stop it. Now just stop it.” And with repetition, you will stop those self-limiting, confidence-destroying negatives from getting into your head and controlling your future.
► 4. Use more positive self-talk.
To move ahead or get better at anything, you’ve got to believe in yourself. There’s simply no other alternative. The poet, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe recognized that truth hundreds of years ago. He said, “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Of course, you may be thinking, how can I possibly believe in myself or come to trust myself?
It’s simple. You start feeding your mind positive input. Whatever you want to get better at or have more of starts in your mind. You start affirming it. Your mind begins to believe it’s possible. And your will goes to work, making it come true.
That’s what Brian Cavanaugh learned at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program. He says, “Accomplishment comes to those who say, ‘I can make it happen.'”
Perhaps you want to be more confident when giving presentations. Start telling yourself, “I am calm, confident, and effective in giving presentations.” Tell yourself that affirmation every day, several times a day, for as many days or weeks as necessary, and you WILL become that way.
It works. I can testify to that. I’ve used that technique on dozens of goals I’ve wanted to accomplish over the years, and it’s never failed me yet.
Now it’s your turn to put these tips to work for you.