The words we think, speak and write create the world around us. Not just the world as we perceive it – but the actual, tangible world.
Loving words create love. Fearful words create fear. Constructive words manifest. Destructive words tear down. Limiting words limit. Opening words open.
Words are magic. Through spelling we create words, and with words, we cast spells of creation.
Since physical action follows from spoken and written words, it may be obvious that these influence the creation of the world. However, this is only part of the influence. The smallest part.
The words we think have even more impact on the world than what we say. But how?
“For as he thinketh, in his heart so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7
Our actions create the world directly. Our behavior and character influence the actions of others take and thus create the world indirectly. Just as genes are the building blocks of higher organisms, memes (ideas, thoughts, words) are the building blocks of the human-made world. The words we use in the privacy of our own minds actually create the physical world.
Your inner words create the outer world.
This is why I believe in his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz wrote ‘Be impeccable with your word’. This idea is often misunderstood (even by Oprah) as referring to ‘being in integrity’ and ‘doing what you say you will do’. What I believe Ruiz actually meant is to be impeccable with your choice of words because the words you use create both your experienced world and the actual world.
Since the words we think, speak and write have such influence on what we create, as a coach I put a lot of attention on the words people use.
+ How to Change the Words We Think +
First, what does it mean to ‘think’ a particular word? Are thoughts something we can control? Don’t they just happen?
Yes and No.
We don’t have influence over the thoughts (or ‘words we think’) that arise in the present, but we do have influence over the thoughts that will arise in the future.
Simply said, we can change the words we think by simply witnessing them and allowing better words to emerge OR by witnessing them and intentionally replacing them.
+ How to Help Other People Change Their Words +
Obviously I can’t know what people are thinking, but the words we speak and write are typically the same words we think. By listening closely to the words people speak, and watching closely to the words they write, I am given a glimpse into their inner world.
Since I hold the words we use as the building blocks of all creation, I never hesitate to interrupt someone to point out or challenge their use of words. In the past, I may have heard words that felt fearful, disempowering or limiting, but not wanting to come off as ‘pedantic’, I’d just let it go and not say anything. Over the years though, I’ve found that there is actually no such thing as being pedantic.
Instead I have found that vagueness lacks power, ambiguity is the downfall of creation, that the use of words which are disassociated, limiting, fearful or unloving create unsconcious obstacles for people.
A typical example is the use of the word ‘hope’ in a way that abdicates personal responsibility.
“I hope I’m just as honest with the board members in our next meeting as I’ve been with you.”
One might let this go saying, “Oh, I know what they mean.”
But ‘what they mean’ is not what they are saying, both out loud and inside their head. Remember, the words people think and speak are casting spells of creation. Even if once brought to awareness a word is recognized as not literally true, thinking it still has impact on them and the world. So in cases like this, I do not hesitate to point it out.
Recently one of the coaches in my Apprenticeship challenged me on my challenging her of her word use.
“Oh, that’s not what I meant.”
“Really? Are you sure?”, I’ll say. “How do you know that? What if using that word IS having an impact?”
This article is not the place for me to list ’empowering’ words and ‘disempowering’ words. However, on my YouTube channel, the over 200 videos I’ve created for coaches, leaders and people who want to create a life they love, are essentially short clips of me articulating distinctions in words.
Nothing is insignificant. Nothing is trivial. Never are we pedantic.
As we evolve our words, we cast spells that evolve the world.