Power of the word



It was the 19th century English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton who is largely credited with coining the adage "the pen is mightier than the sword" . However, there are countless references that date back to biblical and Assyrian times to similar phrases being used. For instance the Assyrian sage Ahiqar, in one of his teachings dated 500 BC, stated that "The word is mightier than the sword".  The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte also left this oft quoted remark:"Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets".

That said I probably don't need to convince anyone of you out there about the powerful effect that language has on our lives. 




A few years ago I came across neuro-linguistics programming (NLP) and that really threw a spotlight on the power of language for me.  It was around this time that I read a lot about personal development and I discovered the motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. His book Awakening the Giant Within - which became an international best seller - gave me a lot of interesting insights as to  how to apply words and psychology to get what you want out of life. I remember recommending the book to a medical colleague a few years ago and his response to what he had read left me feeling surprised.  It was his view that all this aiming high was fine in itself. However,  if  sometimes one fell short of the mark in an area of their life,  then this could generate feelings of  inadequacy. I could see where he was coming from. Also,  I do think that there are cultural issues here. Maybe it has something to do with how the ideas are expressed.   The language of success  and self improvement that the north Americans  who are working in this field use does not always sit well with British psychology. Also, I personally have problems with the way in which it seems to glorify international capitalism. 

That said, I wouldn't want to throw the baby out with the bath water, as there's some good stuff in there.  So, even if you don't buy into the entire package, it's possible to take away elements to enhance your life in a way that feels comfortable. One element of the Robbins book that I have used a lot is an exercise that is good for self empowerment. You might want to give it a try.

The Morning Power Questions -

Through the use of language this exercise is designed  to enhance joy, happiness, excitement, pride, commitment, gratitude and love every day of your life. 

By coming up with 2-3 answers to the following questions and feeling fully associated it is possible to improve the quality of your life. If you have difficulty coming up with an answer simply add the word "Could" eg "What could I be happy about in my life now?"

1. What am I happy about in my life now? 
What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?

2. What am I excited about in my life now?
What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?

3. What am I proud about in my life now? 
What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?

4. What am I grateful about in my life now?
What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?

5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? 
What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?

6. What am I committed to in my life right now?
What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?

7. Who do I love? Who loves me?
What about that makes me loving? How does that make me feel?

These questions can be repeated in the evening. In addition  Robbins states that he sometimes asks 3 further questions - 

The Evening Power Questions

1. What have I given today?
In what ways have I been a giver today?

2. What did I learn today?

3. How has today added to the quality of my life, or, how can I use today as an investment for the future?

Above taken from - Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

I hope you find this exercise part of an interesting journey. Also, the book is well worth a read. 




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