Last month Seth Godin wrote an interesting post on the harsh tone of most signs.
ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIT CARDS.
NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST OR STOLEN ITEMS.
BATHROOMS FOR PATRONS ONLY.
He made the point that, “There’s no legal requirement that signs have to make you sound like a harsh jerk in order to carry weight or to inform the public.”
Finally, he offered examples of positively reframed signs.
To keep our prices as low as possible, we only accept cash. The good news is that there’s an ATM next door.
Careful! We’d like to watch your stuff for you, but we’re busy making coffee.
Our spotlessly clean restrooms are for our beloved customers only, so come on in and buy something! Also, there’s a public bathroom in the library down the street.
Though Seth’s idea may be an interesting marketing concept it also has a direct parallel in the field of self-improvement. The words you use in responding to adversity can greatly affect your ability to combat it.
Instead of complaining about why you can’t do something ask yourself how you could do it. Instead of blaming others for your problems ask yourself how you’re going to solve them. If you ask your brain a question YOU WILL get an answer. Therefore the quality of the questions you ask yourself greatly determines the level of success you’ll experience in life.
Also consider the specific vocabulary you use with yourself as well. Normally when you feel angry you yell, “I’M PISSED!” and feel as if you’re losing control of yourself. Yelling may help to some extent because it’s cathartic, but a more effective measure would be to break identification with your anger.
The next time you feel angry try yelling, “I’m PEEVED! I’M PEEEEEEVED!!” You’ll try to stay angry, but often using silly vocabulary will help you stop identifying with your angry emotions and see them for how trivial they are. It’s difficult to stay angry when you hear how silly you sound yelling, “I’M PEEVED!”
The vocabulary you use, and manner in which you phrase your questions may be simple tools, but they can have a tremendous effect on the life you live.
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