Posts Tagged ‘past’

This was sent to me from a friend in India, not sure who the original author is, he never stated it… But I thought I would share it…

Positive words.bmpI remember my dad teaching me the power of language  at a very young age. Not only did my dad understand that specific words affect our mental pictures, but he understood words are a powerful programming factor in lifelong success. 

One particularly interesting event occurred when I was eight. As a kid, I was always climbing trees, poles, and literally hanging around upside down from the rafters of our lake house. So, it came to no surprise for my dad to find me at the top of a 30-foot tree swinging back and forth. My little eight-year-old brain didn’t realize the tree could break or I could get hurt. I just thought it was fun to be up so high.

My older cousin, Tammy, was also in the same tree. She was hanging on the first big limb, about ten feet below me. Tammy’s mother also noticed us at the exact time my dad did. About that time a huge gust of wind came over the tree. I could hear the leaves start to rattle and the tree begin to sway. I remember my dad’s voice over the wind yell, "Bart, Hold on tightly." So I did. The next thing I know, I heard Tammy screaming at the top of her lungs, laying flat on the ground. She had fallen out of the tree.

I scampered down the tree to safety. My dad later told me why she fell and I did not. Apparently, when Tammy’s mother felt the gust of wind, she yelled out, "Tammy, don’t fall!" And Tammy did. fall.     

My dad then explained to me that the mind has a very difficult time processing a negative image. In fact, people who rely on internal pictures cannot see a negative at all. In order for Tammy to process the command of not falling, her nine-year-old brain had to first imagine falling, then try to tell the brain not to do what it just imagined.

Whereas, my eight-year-old brain instantly had an internal image of me hanging on tightly. This concept is especially useful when you are attempting to break a habit or set a goal. You can’t visualize not doing something. The only way to properly visualize not doing something is to actually find a word for what you want to do and visualize that.

For example, when I was thirteen years old, I played for my junior high school football team. I tried so hard to be good, but I just couldn’t get it together at that age. I remember hearing the words run through my head as I was running out for a pass, "Don’t drop it!" Naturally, I dropped the ball.     

My coaches were not skilled enough to teach us proper "self-talk." They just thought some kids could catch and others couldn’t. I’ll never make it pro, but I’m now a pretty good Sunday afternoon football player, because all my internal dialogue is positive and encourages me to win. I wish my dad had coached me playing football instead of just climbing trees. I might have had a longer football career.           

Here is a very easy demonstration to teach your kids and your friends the power of a toxic vocabulary. Ask them to hold a pen or pencil. Hand it to them. Now, follow my instructions carefully. Say to them, "Okay, try to drop the pencil." Observe what they do.

Most people release their hands and watch the pencil hit the floor. You respond, "You weren’t paying attention. I said TRY to drop the pencil. Now please do it again." Most people then pick up the pencil and pretend to be in excruciating pain while their hand tries but fails to drop the pencil.   

The point is made.         

If you tell your brain you will "give it a try," you are actually telling your brain to fail. I have a "no try" rule in my house and with everyone I interact with. Either people will do it or they won’t. Either they will be at the party or they won’t. I’m brutal when people attempt to lie to me by using the word try.

Do they think I don’t know they are really telegraphing to the world they have no intention of doing it but they want me to give them brownie points for pretended effort? You will never hear the words "I’ll try" come out of my mouth unless I’m teaching this concept in a seminar. 

If you "try" and do something, your unconscious mind has permission not to succeed. If I truly can’t make a decision I will tell the truth. "Sorry John. I’m not sure if I will be at your party or not. I’ve got an outstanding commitment. If that falls through, I will be here. Otherwise, I will not. Thanks for the invite."             

People respect honesty. So remove the word "try" from your vocabulary. My dad also told me that psychologists claim it takes seventeen positive statements to offset one negative statement. I have no idea if it is true, but the logic holds true. It might take up to seventeen compliments to offset the emotional damage of one harsh criticism.           

These are concepts that are especially useful when raising children.

Ask yourself how many compliments you give yourself daily versus how many criticisms. Heck, I know you are talking to yourself all day long. We all have internal voices that give us direction.         

So, are you giving yourself the 17:1 ratio or are you shortchanging yourself with toxic self-talk like, " I’m fat. Nobody will like me. I’ll try this diet. I’m not good enough. I’m so stupid. I’m broke, etc. etc."   

If our parents can set a lifetime of programming with one wrong statement, imagine the kind of programming you are doing on a daily basis with your own internal dialogue. Here is a list of Toxic Vocabulary words.   

Notice when you or other people use them. 

But: Negates any words that are stated before it.               

Try: Presupposes failure.     

If: Presupposes that you may not.   

Might: It does nothing definite. It leaves options for your listener.

Would Have: Past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen.

Should Have: Past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen (and implies guilt.)         

Could Have: Past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen but the person tries to take credit as if it did happen.             

Can’t/Don’t: These words force the listener to focus on exactly the opposite of what you want. This is a classic mistake that parents and coaches make without knowing the damage of this linguistic error.       


Toxic phrase: "Don’t drop the ball!"   

Likely result: Drops the ball     

Better language: "Catch the ball!"   

Toxic phrase: "You shouldn’t watch so much television."             

Likely result: Watches more television.   

Better language: "I read too much television makes people stupid. You might find yourself turning that TV off and picking up one of those books more often!"   

Exercise: Take a moment to write down all the phrases you use on a daily basis or any Toxic self-talk that you have noticed yourself

using. Write these phrases down so you will begin to catch yourself as they occur and change them.

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I talk about change a lot here, and how we all need to learn to use change in life to help us all grow, and become new. I truly feel that change is always happening to us all, and the only difference is how we choose to deal with the change happening to us. But I thought I would take a moment and talk about a group of people going through a major change in their life, a change that can help them become what they are created for, a change that, if allowed too, will change them in to productive and happy people.


If you have not yet figured it out, I am talking about all the youth graduation from High School. We have set free our next generation of politicians, doctors and store clerks. Each offering us valuable and needed skills; Regardless of what they decide to do as their career, as long as they are productive, happy and healthy adults and contribute to the betterment of society, all is good.


We all too often push out youth in to what most would consider prestigious jobs such as:


  • Lawyer
  • Doctor
  • Scientist


Or other such jobs that we need, and yes they make lots of money, but we fail to remember that we also need people to perform other task, some no so great, and others very noble in deeds, but not in pay.


  • Store clerk
  • Trash pick-up
  • Armed Forces


Our future rest on the shoulders of this graduating class…


So as each heads off to university or trade school, or even if they choose not to attend any post secondary school, we as the current adults need to mentor them all, foster in them a sense of obligation to the future of this world and a responsibility to the generations that came before along with a need to care for the generations yet to come.


Each and every graduate has to own the past present and future, they need to feel an obligation to it and need to be apart of it.


We, as the current generation need to teach them not by words, but rather by example.



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Time has the ability to change you, even if you do not want it to. We all grow and change over time, but some of us like to hold on to the past. Cling to it as a life preserver. We fight the change; we despise the growth and do all we can to stay in the past.


One would thing we do this because the past was a safer, kinder and gentler place, one where we feel protected. But it’s not always the case; some of us cling to the past, because it is known. Good bad or indifferent, we know what the past has to offer, we have lived it once, so we can live it over and over again, with no fear, and no growth.


Well as I stated in the start of this blog, growth happens to us regardless of what we want. So even though we think we are clinging to the past, in truth, we are just creating or present reality, we are living our lives in the present, using old and often times skewed memories of the past to help us navigate the present.


The human condition is set up to re-create moments that we store in our mind, to re-create them a little different. They are never truly as they happened, we may choose to spice them up a little, are add more smiles to them, or even make them worse then they truly where. It’s what we do; we skew images and memories to fit our needs and wants.


The human condition is set up that way, as a way of protecting us, and over time most of us will disregard memories that where truly unpleasant or on eventful, and only choose to keep the more happy and eventful moments. So often our “past” is just that “ours” and not truly the past.


When we choose to live the present in the past, for fear of facing the unknown, and choosing rather, to face the know of the past, we are living a life of created past. We are living a present that has never truly happened.


Each day is new, and each moment is special, each needs to be lived in the now, and not in the then.


So start today, and live it in the now, choose to feel the day as it is, and not as you think you did in the past.


Use the past the help you grow and chance, but do not use it as the now.



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