Personal Development: The Power of Words


Personal Development: Is your language positive enough? Our ‘Go Get It!’ specialist investigates the power of words and which ones can generate negativity.

Words are everywhere. They come out of your mouth, they’re in your head, you hear them, you read them and you even feel them; you simply can’t do without them.

The words you use become even more important when you want to be understood, get things done and achieve desired results. Would it, therefore, be of value to you if you knew how to change three little words that are probably generating unwanted or negative results whenever you utter them?

I thought it would, so here goes. Those three little words are don’t, can’t and no. The first thing to be aware of is that some words generate a feeling and can instantly make the speaker and the listener feel good or bad just by saying and hearing them.

To illustrate this, close your eyes and say don’t, can’t and no out loud and notice how the words make you feel. Do they uplift you, empower you or motivate you, or do they drain you, disempower you or demotivate you?

DON’T: Have you ever read a sign that says ‘do not walk on the grass’ and all you want to do is walk on the grass? Have you ever told someone ‘don’t forget’ and they’ve forgotten? Have you ever told a child ‘don’t run’ and the first thing they do is run?

Statements starting with don’t can cause the opposite to occur even though you’ve said exactly what you want. This is because the part of your mind that takes action on the statement has to know what it is being told not to do before it can do what it is supposed to.

To achieve a desired result, remove the word don’t and say exactly what you want the person to do. For example, ‘do not walk on the grass’ becomes ‘walk on the path’. ‘Don’t forget’ becomes ‘remember’ and ‘don’t run’ becomes ‘walk’.

CAN’T: The moment you use the word, your mind closes off to any ways in which you could make a thing possible. Once the mind is closed off it has nowhere to go.

It’s a good idea to remove this word from your vocabulary entirely and re-word your sentences to allow your mind to open up to the possibility of making it happen.

Your new sentence could become ‘even though this seems difficult, I am going to find a way to make it happen’. Or ’ I am opening my mind to new ways of getting it done’.

NO: This word instinctively generates a negative feeling within the speaker and listener, yet it is said over and over again. I’ve particularly noticed in Europe, that many people start their sentences with ‘no‘ even when it doesn’t need to be used. Bring your use of this word into your awareness and if you are using it more than necessary, you may want to make a conscious effort to start your sentence again, this time saying it and generating a positive feeling.

Statements starting with ‘no’ have the same effect as statements starting with ‘don’t’ and can easily be reverted to using words that state exactly what you want, so the recipient knows exactly what you want them to do.

By being more aware of the impact your language has, you can consciously choose precise words to generate the results you expect rather than be disappointed by the actions of the person to whom you
are speaking.

‘Go Get It!’ specialist Natasha Abudarham lives in Brussels and provides private courses, group workshops and is a motivational speaker. For more information, go to