As an attitude adjuster by profession, people will ask me, “What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about success and happiness?” My response, without hesitating, is always, “Never use your words to describe a challenging situation. Rather, use your words to change your perspective on a challenging situation.”
We need to be especially careful about the words we speak out loud when things aren’t going the way we want. It’s true that what you think is what you get, and what you say out loud in the midst of troubling times has even a greater impact.
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And although it may be possible to convince yourself that you’re trying to stay positive when the situation is really calling for some good old-fashioned angst, what you say out loud during those times could very well make the difference in how long you remain in that situation and how deeply it affects you.
The words you speak amplify your feelings and trigger mental images, which in turn lead to the actions you take. And the actions you take lead to an outcome. So, if what you think is what you get, then what you say is what you ask for.
If you’re always thinking about how badly life is treating you and telling whoever will stand still long enough about how you can’t get a fair shake, you will always feel miserable. It’s true, misery loves company. But being miserable doesn’t exactly attract good things to you. Get it? If you want to change your life for the better, start by consciously changing what you think… and what you say.
Awareness is the first step in stifling this voice and turning a compulsively negative mindset around. Once you recognize the dismal reality these thoughts and words create, you can step back, observe the direction you are going in and take action against them. You can do this by counterattacking with empowering thoughts and words that will instill hope, faith, confidence, courage and determination.
Whatever it is that’s bringing you down, acknowledge the anxiety it represents and immediately go on the offensive, bombarding those fears with emotionally charged words. And if you’re worried about someone catching you talking to yourself and thinking you’re crazy, just hop in your car or take a walk, and give that voice in your head a piece of your mind.
“Hey, I know you’re there, and I know what you’re trying to do. But it won’t work… because I’m in control here!”
“Hey, I know you’re there, and I know what you’re trying to do. But it won’t work… because I’m in control here! I get to choose what thoughts flow through my mind. I get to choose the words that are coming out of my mouth. But most of all, I have a force (God, or whatever you choose to believe) that is bigger than anything you can throw at me! So go ahead, hit me with your best shot. One thing is certain: I will prevail!”
Whether coming from a positive or negative place, your words inevitably affect your attitude and thus your situation. Always remember, the moment you open your mouth to say something, you start the process of creation in motion.
The choice is yours, my friend.
Related: Why Your Attitude Is Everything
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Steve Rizzo is the Attitude Adjuster. You can’t attend one of his keynote speeches and leave with the same attitude. He’s a personal development expert, comedian, motivational speaker, and best-selling author. It’s no surprise that he’s been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon on fewer than 250 speakers worldwide since 1977. You can find out more at www.steverizzo.com.