Words are very
powerful. If you don’t believe me,
please whatever you do, DON’T think of a purple elephant with bright pink polka
dots. I mean it, DON’T think of a purple
elephant with bright pink polka dots. Seriously,
DON’T think of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots.
I bet the first
thing that popped into your mind, when you read those words was some form or
image of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots.
Even though I
specifically put the word “don’t” in front of the statement, you still did it. That is because our minds, with their ability
to focus and filter, hone straight in on the more concrete “what” in our
statements - whether spoken, written, or just thought - and not the “action” part,
as it were.
Yet, how many of us
- in conversation with others and, even more often, internally with ourselves -
use phrases along the lines of:
- I can’t
stop worrying about…
- If I only
didn’t have so much…
- I wish I
And, like our minds
are designed to do, they completely ignore the first part of the statement or
thought - the part I have typed out - and latch onto the part represented by
Those with a more
sceptical outlook will disagree, but just look around you, and at the
situations you are in, and your relationships.
Do you mostly see what you “want” in your life, or what you “don’t want?”
If you are like the
vast majority of the population, you will probably see a lot of what you say
you don’t want, and then you’ll follow whatever latest self-help fad is out
there to bring about a change, only to abandon it, after a few short weeks,
when nothing seems to be changing.
In order to change
the conditions, the “what” in your life, you need to change the words you are
using. As with any habit, you can’t just
eliminate what you don’t want, you need to replace it with more of what you do
want, one word at a time, with gratitude.
We are now a whole
month into the new year. How’s it going
for you so far? Better than last
year? Worse? The same old, same old grind?
We, humans, have
this idea that every once in a while we need to make a big grand sweeping
change in our lives. We decide that the
only way things will be different is if we do some big overhaul.
also resist change at every turn, especially big changes that challenge our
comfort zones and all that we hold familiar.
All to soon, after some attempt to massively change every aspect and
corner of our being, we tend to revert back to the way we were before the
change, and we become even more rigidly attached to that familiar state.
Until the next time
we read, view, or hear something that inspires us to completely transform our
year after year…
Now, I’m not saying
that change is bad, or that we all don’t have a habit or two (or more) that we
want to change, or that our lives can’t do with some tweaking from time to
time, but the way to bring about that change isn’t with an all-or-nothing, all-out
Rather, the most
lasting, and meaningful, changes start with teeny tiny baby steps. Steps that are so small that they seem almost
ridiculous and pointless.
And, yes, they do
seem ridiculous, which is exactly why they work.
It is very easy for
us to feel overwhelmed and give up, usually at the worst possible time, but at
the same time is very easy for us to fool ourselves when we don’t think we are
putting out much effort.
And doing one teeny
tiny baby step forward often leads to larger steps as we realize how easy the
baby step was, and momentum builds.
“You don't take the
baby steps for the distance they cover, but to put yourself in reach of life's
magic...you don't hoist your sails on the sailboat to move the boat, but to
catch the wind that will move the boat.” - Mike Dooley