Seems like many of us never stop and think about the language that we use.
I am not referring to your native language or your dialect, but those words that you use every day to express how you think and feel. The words that you use to describe what you’re doing and what you’re striving to achieve.Life is made up of many different avenues, and language is one of them. Click To Tweet
From the moment you learned your first words to your days at school and up to today, being exposed to new words and new uses for them continually expands your vocabulary.
And with it, your means for potentially expressing yourself. There’s something special about the language you use and something extraordinary about what it’s saying about your mindset.
The language we choose to use to express something dictates the meaning. Both to ourselves and others.
The Language Of Your MindSometimes, one word says more than a hundred ever could. Click To Tweet
Did you know that there is an Italian word, Faloppone, that describes a person who doesn’t finish anything or fulfils promises?
Or that the German word, Wanderlust, describes the urge and desire to want to travel?
There are endless ways to communicate a single thought, direction, or feeling, but not all of them will lead to communication that portrays what you truly mean or what you truly want.
The language that you use, both deliberately and unintentionally, can easily be interpreted. So let’s refer to the language of your mind as the way that you communicate with yourself.
Stop for a moment. Reflect on the last hour or two.
Were you communicating positive or negative messages to yourself? Were you telling yourself to try or telling yourself to succeed? Will you commit to doing something, or are you going to try to do something?
The role of language in defining your mindset starts with understanding how what you’re saying matches up with what you want to achieve.
Growth Mindset Versus Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset is having the mindset of development, knowing that to become more intelligent, you have to put in the effort to learn, improve, and grow.
A fixed mindset is the belief that you have reached your limit of growth, that there is no way to develop your intelligence further.
Which type of mindset that you employ comes down, in part, to the language that you use and the language that you’re exposed to.
An example that sums up how language plays a role in the way that we are encouraged to think involves two sentences:
‘Well done, you tried.’
‘Well done, try again.’
Both sentences portray a person who made some effort to achieve something and has not succeeded. But there is a big difference in the takeaway or residual impact from each sentence.
Takeaway Or Residual Impact
The first sentence congratulates the person for trying, and then puts the practice in the past tense.
The second sentence offers the same praise but keeps the practice in the present tense with a prompt to give it another go. To get back up, dust yourself off and try again.
In the second sentence, there is a focus on continuing; trying again to master the task. This task could be something simple, like teaching a child to colour between the lines, or something challenging, like learning a foreign language.
Which sentence you’re exposed to can define how you view the task. But what happens when you expose yourself to either sentence?
If your natural internal reply is the first sentence, then you conclude for yourself that there is no future in continuing; demonstrating a fixed mindset.
If your natural internal reply is the second sentence, then you are deciding to continue: demonstrating a growth mindset.
Controlling Negative Language
We are not born to stop trying at the first hurdle. If we were all destined to that fate, then the world would never have developed as it has.
We are born with a choice; keep trying until you succeed or stop when the going gets tough.
To break away from a fixed mindset, you need to learn how to control negative language.
Negative language doesn’t always feel like having a negative mindset, but it can lead to one.
In many cases, controlling negative language means substituting one word for another, changing the way that a sentence is structured, or making a decision. Instead of leaving your mind open to interpretation.
You may not even realise you’re thinking negatively until you step back and take a good look at what you’re saying and how it’s influencing your actions.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to get a promotion, familiar ground for many of us.
You are waiting outside your line manager’s office, there are five other applicants up for the promotion, and all of them are equally qualified for the role.
Whats going through your mind?
If what your mind is saying is something similar to:
‘This is important, please don’t mess it up.’
‘Remember to mention your experience.’
Then the takeaways are going to be:
‘Mess it up.’
‘Mention your experience.’
We Don’t Think In Negatives
Our brains don’t factor the negative word don’t into the equation. So that phrase that was intended to be motivational leaves a negative takeaway.
What we end up picturing are scenarios where we mess up at a crucial moment or forget to do something important.
Now consider an alternative way of looking at the scenario.
You’re in the same situation, but different thoughts are going through your mind:
‘This is important; I’m prepared to do well.’
‘I will always remember to mention my experience.’
The concept of the sentences is still the same, but the takeaways are very different:
‘Always remember to mention.’
Now, when you go into the meeting, you’re picturing a scenario where you’re going to do well and remember to mention key points.
The simple changes can transform your entire outlook on an event; giving you the boost in confidence and the positive mindset that you need to be outstanding in any scenario.
The potential to live an outstanding life is all there: you have the vocabulary, the desire to do well, and the ability to achieve. You need to make the change and mind your language use!
Turn ‘Can’ into ‘Will’
Many of us are responsible for shelving projects, stalling, and shying away from doing what we really want to do.
Why? Because we tell ourselves that the time isn’t right, that before you can do one thing you have to do another, that we aren’t ready to dive in and do it yet.
There’s an old saying that most people hear during their childhood and its one that everyone deserves to hear:
‘You can do anything that you set your mind to.’
The simple saying holds a wealth of potential. It tells you that there are no limits, no restrictions, that what you want is entirely possible. It’s a beautiful saying, but it comes with a lot of pressure.
This is where one of the most significant changes you can make to the language of your mind comes in; the transition between can and will.
Telling yourself that you can do something is almost like a scapegoat. You’re saying that you could do it, perhaps even that you should do it, but not that you will do it.
As soon as you make the change to will, you begin a new journey; you start what you have been putting off and make the next step in your life.
Not committing to anything can fill your mind with negativity, always leaving you in that state of limbo. The freedom of saying can is one of the biggest restraints that you will put on your potential in life.
Will is a commitment; a decision to do more, and one of the simplest ways to set your mind free. With a will mindset, you give yourself the positive language you need to achieve what you want.
Understand Your Path
Its ok to be scared about committing to a new path. Change is a scary thing. But you can make it easier on yourself and make the most of your positive mindset.
Understanding where you want to go gets rid of some of that fear and uncertainty; it gives you something to aim for. Think of it as a destination that you want to reach.
Deliberation is the enemy of progress. Decisions should be thought out, but deliberation can introduce those negative language terms that cap what your mindset can achieve.
If you’re serious about changing your path and your mindset, then commit to a will and see it through to a have.
With that achievement under your belt, the next one will be easier, and you begin to discover what a positive mindset is really capable of.
Reclaim Control Over Your Mind’s Language
The best part of your mindset? It’s yours, and you have total control over it. Others can influence it of course, but at the end of the day, the language that you allow to alter it is entirely down to you.
If you’re ready to make a change and reclaim control over your mind’s language, then there are five crucial stages to the process.
The five R’s of reclaiming control: Route, Reframe, Reflect, Remove, and Refocus, will help you to identify what you want to achieve, show you how to mind your language, and decide for yourself who gets to influence your mindset.
Stage One: Route Your Course
The first step to any change is deciding that you want to change.
Making that decision is an introduction to controlling the language that you use to express yourself. As soon as you say that you will mind your language, you’re already taking a positive step.
Routing your course is giving yourself a plan to follow, setting up those first few steps that are going to start you on your journey to a more positive outlook.
Give yourself a target and strive for that. It can be anything personal to you. Got an idea for a book? Start writing. Want a new career? Take a look at the opportunities.
Stage Two: Reframe Your Mind
The language that you use likely comes very naturally to you.
Because you are used to thinking in a certain way, saying certain things, and expressing your thoughts in a set way. It’s time to take a step back and re-examine what you’re saying and how it’s influencing you.
Work on giving yourself positive reinforcement by telling yourself that you will do something.
This is a conscious step that you’re going to need to practice. It may not come overnight, and you may struggle at first, but its worth it in the end.
Stage Three: Reflect on Achievements
Success is a feeling that can fill your mind with positivity – make sure you use each and every success to your advantage. Achieved something new? Reflect on it at the end of the day and give yourself the praise that you deserve.
Every night, pick two or three things that you’ve achieved, and take note of them – enjoy what your positive language has delivered!
Stage Four: Remove Negativity
Feedback is one of the best ways to help you improve, but you should never construe feedback as negative.
Rather, if your life is filled with people that can only see negatives in positive experiences, then it is time to re-evaluate.
You should never give control over how you feel to anybody else if you’re setting out to achieve something. Most of all, focus on feedback that offers value, not feedback that takes it away.
Stage Five: Refocus Your AttentionNot every project is successful, and it's important to remember that not succeeding is not the same as failing. Click To Tweet
When something doesn’t go to plan, then refocus your attention, discover what went wrong and find a new solution.
Never allow your mindset to slip into negativity just because something hasn’t gone the way you wanted. The key to minding your language is to remember how important it is when the pressure is on!
Your mindset can give you the determination to carry on, the strength to achieve new things, and lead the way to a happier and more fulfilling life.
If you give yourself the language that you need to nurture your mindset, you’re allowing it to grow and deliver on its potential.
We could say that minding your language for your mindset’s sake is easy, but it can be challenging.
What we can focus on is to start every day with an I will and end every day with an I have; give your mindset the best chance to guide you in the right direction.
Drop a comment below, and let me know how you use language to enhance your mindset. Want to develop a better mindset? Find out here.