Tony Robbins once said “I’ve got an enormously large head and it’s filled with pennies and helium,” and “The language you use is the reality that you create.“
I may be misquoting one of those 2 quotes. Or both. Google it.
Regardless, the message rings true. Helium belongs in balloons and pennies on the street… heads up for good luck. And whatever words you use when you speak, both to yourself and others, is the perspective you’re creating. This is how people will see you and this is how you will see them… through language. And eyeballs.
Think about it. Let’s take something simple and deconstruct it. I heard this the other day and it told me a lot about how this person views himself. He showed me his mental cards. It was in the midst of doing something physical and instead of finding a way to complete the technique/drill/whathaveyou when it got difficult, out came the phrase “I’m old, I can’t do that.”
Like a dog when he hears high pitched fart noises from the mouth, my head cocked sideways. You could have seen a Calvin & Hobbes question-mark over my head a mile away. I had worked with people in their mid-70’s in the martial arts realm and never heard that come out of their mouths. Now, curiosity got the best of me and I had to know.
“Oh man, you’re old? Shit dude, how old?”
“Just turned 32”
Yup. Old and decrepit. He started farting dust while he was talking, I don’t even think he could feel it happening. I decided to call the nursing home right then and there. This deluded, wrinkly, old man was clearly ready for a wheel chair and assisted living. Maybe even a white uniform that ties his arms across his body. He created an illusion for himself, a falsity he chose to believe instead of accepting the difficulty of the task at hand and embracing its’ challenges. He’s not alone, I’m sure we’ve all done it. I’ve told myself I couldn’t get something done for some stupid bullshit that definitely wasn’t real, I’m sure… it’s a slippery slope. “I’m too tired, I should rest.” We’ve all probably used that one and then FOMO kicked in hard and gave us a second wind followed by the guilt for missing something we would have truly enjoyed. I’ve had some of the best nights of my life once I realigned and told myself “WE’RE AWAKE!” and subsequently “danced” like a maniac. I can’t dance. It looks like I’m trying to shake a nest of angry Japanese hornets out of my underwear. But it works.
We ALL know he isn’t old. The only one that’s calling him old, besides himself, is some 3 year old that would say the same shit to a tall 6 year old that can now use 2 syllable words. Well, now I call him “geriatric” but only because it’s fun to take his excuses away from him. Sometimes the only way to break someone of their self-deprecating and negative habits is to use the secret, advanced psychological trick called “reverse psychology.” I doubt you’ve ever heard of it, only PhD’s in Psych and geniuses, like myself, know about it. Perhaps a quick google would teach you the basics, peasant.
Jest aside, these are the traps we can set ourselves in. Why would I give myself the excuse of age, why would I even tell myself that? Why would I tell YOU that?! We’re in constant efforts to escape the grim reaper, not invite him. Telling yourself that “you’re old,” telling yourself that “you can’t do it because X,” telling OTHER PEOPLE NEGATIVE THINGS will only reinforce them. Perhaps you’re saying it to self-deprecate in a sense of humor and that’s fine to an extent. To hear an 18 year old jokingly call themselves elderly to a 7 year old is hilarious. But to say something of that nature in seriousness will only make it real.
Same thing with “I don’t have time.” That one gets me. MOTHERFUCKER, WE ALL HAVE 24 HOURS IN A DAY. You choose what to do with them. You choose to go to work, you choose to sleep 8 hours a night, you choose to scroll through Instagram when you should reading a book, you choose to lick windowsills. Whatever, you get it. When you tell yourself you don’t have time, you’re totally unaware of the choices you’re making at a moment to moment basis. Your bullshit is on autopilot and you’re spiraling somewhere your habits are taking you. Work on a skill, do something creative, or just be aware that you’re choosing this path. Just be more careful with your language and say, “I’m spending my time and energy doing X.” … “I don’t have time.” Get naked and go play in poison ivy. That one irks me. MAKE TIME. /end rant
I’m certainly not a religious man by any means. If I stood in a church it would probably light up in flames… but you’ll never find my gasoline and matches.
But you can briefly think about the battle of Good vs. Evil or God vs. Satan, same kind of thing. One side wants to win. No idea why, they just do. That’s a whole other topic and I haven’t had enough coffee for that one. Now, the internal voice of ours is constantly susceptible to either breaking us down or building us up – to either end of the spectrum. When you’re broken down, you’re a black hole, no light, no creation, just pulling people and everything with you, whether you want to or not. When you’re building and creating, you’re bringing people up with you. You’re now influencing and inspiring people to do more, whether you believe you are or not. Think of the phrase, “Misery loves company” or “Building people up.”
When we speak in positive language, we attract more positivity. Something like the Law of Attraction. I know there are days that it can feel almost impossible and you want to indulge, wallowing in the negative but it does no good. Literally. That’s not to say we can’t feel a “negative” emotion like anger or cry because we feel sadness. That’s real. Chinese medicine will talk about organs housing emotions and reeking havoc if not dealt with. Worrisome? You probably feel “sick to your stomach.” Just got over a brutal loss of a loved one? I’m sure you feel what’s called “heartache.” These are not the same as spreading negativity or being an energy vampire. We can’t yell and scream constantly or cry all the time and be a sobbing mess… but at the same rate, you can’t be smiling and clapping all the time. Do that at a funeral and see how it goes.
Now, let’s pretend that someone cuts you off in traffic. Happens daily, right? How do you react? Yelling, shouting, flipping them the bird, laying on your horn, violently punching your dashboard, tailing them home to see where they live, waiting in the woods outside their house until all their lights shut off and they’ve gone to bed, putting on your deluxe black ski mask you bought off Amazon “in case it gets cold,” grabbing your crowbar that you bought “just incase I got locked out of the house,” breaking in through their basement door that you noticed isn’t covered by their alarm, silencing their pets with a humane duct tape technique you studied on YouTube the last few months, going into their fridge and mixing all of their chicken and fish with dairy and then putting it into the microwave for 5 minutes, then sneaking into their bedroom and watching them sleep for 10 minutes with your pants down, then also “humanely duct taping” their mouth shut and hanging them out their window and making them repeated tell you how much they love you until they’ve realized the pain they’ve caused you?
It’s a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think? Perhaps we could just fix your language to fix your perspective. Seems like less work. But is it? Yeah, probably. Besides, their house is probably a unorganized mess.
Stoics will say that you can’t choose what always happens, but you can choose how to react to it. Pretty fart smellahs.
It’s still not easy. I was a pretty Negative Nancy back in my immature youth. Likely it was some bullying that stuck with me for years after the fact. In turn, that shifted my internal dialogue to shit on myself more than anyone else, making it so others couldn’t hurt me. The damage was already done. If I make myself feel like shit, what can you do to me? If I’m already broken, I’m unbreakable. Beat you to the punch, bitch. Oh wait…
Terrible mentality, but the age old saying goes, “You’ve got to break them, before you can build them back up.”
Over the years, practicing using better language to see everything in some sort of a positive light. Failures became an opportunity for growth and lessons learned. Injuries became chances to work on my weaknesses. Physical exhaustion became an opportunity to use my mind and educate myself on something interesting. A cloudy day became less chance of a sunburn. etc. etc.
But like all skills, it truly takes constant practice and self-awareness. If you don’t listen to your language (inside and out), you continue to look through the same lenses without even knowing the prescription or worse… without even knowing they’re on.