The Boundless Power of Words

August 24, 2017

The Boundless Power of Words

If someone asked you to think of a life-changing – or world-changing – speech, what would you think of? Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” would be a popular choice. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech might make the list. All of these speeches captured their place and time and made a permanent mark in history – because that is the power of words.

We know words are important. They’re a primary form of communication and are used to express thoughts, ideas, insights and emotions. But the power of words extends well beyond simple expression.

The words you choose have the capacity to completely direct and change the course of your life. The words you use day in and day out – your habitual vocabulary – are what decide your dreams, successes and your ability to bounce back after setbacks.

The power of your words, both in your mind and those you say out loud, is enough to determine your future.

The power of self-talk

Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have any control over the way we feel and that our feelings have been decided by our circumstances. If someone surprises you with a thoughtful gift, you’re happy. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you’re angry.

Fortunately, it’s not that simple. The way we feel in any given situation is actually a choice. It’s a choice that’s dictated by our self-talk.

Self-talk is your inner monologue. It’s the words you choose to put your experiences into thoughts. And it has a huge effect on your emotions.

Think about the last person who cut you off in traffic. If you think, “that person pissed me off,” then feelings of anger, resentment and frustration will bubble up inside you. On the other hand, what if you changed that statement? What if, instead of deciding that the person pissed you off, you instead chose to think, “that person is so silly”?

It might sound overly simplistic and even a bit ridiculous at first, but once you try implementing this change, you’ll see first-hand the power of words.

Think about it this way: When you’re in traffic and someone cuts you off, the words you choose to label the situation will decide whether you shrug it off or let anger get the best of you. The latter reaction causes an increase in blood pressure and your stress levels, negatively impacting your physical and mental health – and even causing you to do irrational things. Use the word “silly,” and your anger will dissipate along with its negative effects.

The power of your words extends to other emotions as well. For instance, when you tell yourself you’re devastated, you will become devastated as the biological responses associated with devastation kick in. We’ve all been there and have felt this way at one point or another – it’s that pit in your stomach, doubt in your capabilities and hopelessness about the situation at hand.

But you can cut off those feelings of despair before they take over your mind. Check in with yourself the moment you feel those thoughts creep in. Ask yourself, are you truly devastated, or is that the word your brain habitually reached for in the moment? It’s nearly always the latter.

Tony always says, “Change your words, change your life.” This is why, during the firewalk at Unleash the Power Within, Tony has all firewalkers chant the word “YES!” before crossing the coals. This exercise transforms feelings of fear and the thoughts of “I can’t” into a sense of empowerment and forward momentum.

The power of spoken words

The words we choose to say to others – and how we say them – also have powerful consequences. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship has experienced this first-hand. Perhaps you said something that you didn’t realize was hurtful, or your partner took a comment the wrong way. Or perhaps, you purposely provoked a friend or loved one. The power of spoken words can be as sharp as a weapon, especially used against people we know intimately.

You must learn how your words affect others – and stop self-sabotaging with arguments or hurtful comments. Before you speak, ask yourself if there is another way your comment might be taken. Are you choosing neutral words? Is your tone low and even, or is it sarcastic or loud? Being aware of the power of your words is vital for your relationships.

The beauty of the power of words is that it’s free and easy to change the way you use them. It can be practiced in nearly any situation that comes your way. After trying it just a few times, you’ll become keenly aware of the true power of your words to transform your life.

The power of the firewalk

Walking across hot coals is an exercise in changing thought patterns and bestowing empowerment. It’s a life-changing experience and a tool that you can add to your “life” toolbox and call upon whenever you need.

Post-firewalk, you’ll question your previous thoughts – the exercise is intended to make you challenge your views, thoughts and perceptions. Rather than thinking how afraid you were, you can practice thinking about how empowered and driven you felt to take on something you initially thought was impossible.

Interested in learning more about how firewalking at Unleash the Power Within can improve your life? Click here to learn more and to find out when you can attend the next upcoming event.

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