When we change the words we use, we change the reality in which we are living in. We have the power to say – the same thing – in a different way.

Every word, question or action we take causes a simultaneous reaction. It could generate more energy, or it could drain it, it reduces our well-being or increases it. It is your choice.

«Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.» ~ Viktor E. Frankl.

Just a few days ago I saw a shared post on LinkedIn that caught my attention: The image of an «adventurer» on top of a rock contemplating an endless horizon that was accompanied by the following text:

«There will always be someone who doubted you. Just make sure that person isn’t you.»

And straight away I thought – Of course!

Like most people, I was about to click on -Recommend- and even -Share-, and suddenly something kept me from doing so, and that was because the words we use and decide to share with others are full of assumptions that can become powerful «detonators» for our most basic answers, which are occasionally unnecessary.

Then our basic instincts in their own will to protect us, generates fast reactions that usually comes with a very limited number of possible answers (fight back – run away – become paralyzed) that are also frequently accompanied by a set of emotions, such as anxiety, and immediately have an impact on our thoughts and actions.

We know that the more anxiety we have, the more we might be led to poor decision-making. To sum up, we tend to make very bad decisions just when are required to make the best ones. When we are more uncertain and stressed, we become more distracted, hesitant and lose much of our ability to discern the right choice in a timely and correct manner.

Then, our own words can trigger a downward spiral for an unwelcome and limited flood of inefficient emotions and responses. We cannot evade our basic instincts and the emotions they create, but what we can do, is to choose to convey our language in a way that would not cause them to appear unnecessarily.

We have many more options, countless words at our disposal, that can also help us to avoid stress and anxiety in highly challenging situations. Moreover, they can motivate us and give us the potential to build a clear reality and a better fate for us all. What will make us calmer or more serene?

How aware are we of the impact and scope of our words?

As I was telling you, shortly after reading the post, I felt, that as much as the phrase in the image was surely made with the best of intentions – the intention of our words is not enough – and irretrievably, those words and my amygdala  were leading me to think and ask myself: Who had doubts about me? Why won’t people believe in me? Do I doubt myself? And in the end, recovering slowly and with some effort I came up with: Believe in you.

Word by word, question-by-question, thought-by-thought, – we build – our life experience and make a new world emerge around us. We give sense to our lives through the stories we tell ourselves, and what we say and repeat is translated into our behavior that impacts us and others.

«The best way to predict the future is to create it» ~ Peter Drucker.

The Anticipatory Principle of Appreciative Inquiry argues that a positive image of our future can drive us to take positive actions – in the continuous present moment – and that, in turn, facilitate the emergence of that better version of the future that we want for ourselves.

The good thing about all this is that we are free to choose what we tell ourselves, what we imagine, and that we can co-create our destiny, influence it, word by word, question by question, in every conversation we have. We have the power to choose the words we use and decide what we want them to focus on. That’s why I reread the phrase from the LinkedIn post and started writing – the same thing – in a different way, and I came up with the following:

«There will always be someone who believes in you. Make sure you’re one of them.»

A slight change made me feel different. Then I looked into my personal story to search for a high point experience in which I truly believed in myself, and found a picture where I was in the mountains, a picture taken by my «climbing brother», Javi Garrido, while we were climbing Mount Denali, in Alaska. Here’s the result:


Regardless of the situation that may cross our paths, we can always find what we want. We live in multiple realities. There is the good one and the bad one, the beautiful and the dreadful, the perfect and the imperfect, the opportunities and the obstacles, what is wrong and what we understand is right. We decide where we are pointing our reflectors, where are we shining the light towards, where are we focusing -perhaps- the most important thing we have: our attention.

“What you focus on, grows.” ~Appreciative Inquiry

We can focus on what really contributes to our lives and that we hold dear the people who truly support us, those who do actually believe in us, including ourselves. Everything is there, waiting for us to grab it and to nourish it, and everything that we find in our path will depend on what we choose to pay more attention to.

What do you want your words to evoke?

No. This doesn’t mean that your problems or bad or poor situations will simply disappear because you stop paying attention to them. It means that by keeping ourselves open to these multiple realities of life and the different perspectives that create them, we can expand our options to choose and act; thus, we release our creativity and therefore possibilities to find new paths to move forward. What we appreciate from every moment and experience, «increases its value», grows.

Whatever the situation is, however extraordinary, ordinary or tragic, we can quest and search for what breathes life into us, what works, what gives us deep meaning, what we can count on, what we want the most.

What are those words that make you feel more alive, that generate more energy, that can open new possibilities and drive you to move forward?

Our words are often rich sources of innovative possibilities that drive us forward, others work as «triggers» that limit us, increases our anxiety and stress, paralyzes us or, even worse, lead us to act inappropriately and with little discernment.

We have the power to share with others and -with ourselves- words, metaphors and stories that evoke more trust, more unity, solidarity, that celebrate our interdependence and social connection, that inspire optimism, freedom.

Try to remember the one thing you have control over even in times of great uncertainty, it is how we use our language, the questions we ask, the kind of conversations we nurture and the impact we want to create by using them. It is our choice.

Believe in yourself, a lot of people already do.

If you feel like it, tell me and explore:

  • What differences do you notice from one sentence to the other?
  • In peculiar times like now, what «detonators» -words or metaphors- that you have heard or said would you change? How or what would you change them for?
  • Recall the experience of your personal story of greater self-confidence. Imagine the best of your possible futures, from here to 2 years. With that level of confidence, what would you be doing, NOW?

Inspired by: Principles of Appreciative Inquiry (Constructionist, Simultaneity, Poetic, Anticipatory, Narrative, Positive, Awareness, Enactment, Free choice, Wholeness.)

Original Blog Post by: http://www.fernandocaballero.com/

#wordscreateworlds #wordsmatter  #AppreciativeMindset #AppreciativeInquiry

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