Our Words Create Our Future

in Future

I was recently coaching a person who told me that he would "try" to improve his relationship with a coworker but that it would be "very difficult" and that it would "take a lot of time to trust him."

Consider the words that are in bold above. Could it be that while this person thinks he's merely describing the future, he's actually creating it? Could it be that our words actually produce results in the real world?

Consider these examples:

I was recently reading about Lanny Bassham, a former Olympic rifle shooter and "mental coach" whose clients include U.S. Olympic archers. Bassham notes that the archery community has a peculiar obsession with "target panic," which refers to a malady sometimes suffered by champion archers who become so worried about hitting the target that they stop themselves from even attempting a shot.

Bassham says that, "the words 'target panic' have induced an unnecessary amount of severity and concern about this condition among archers." He concludes by noting that, "I think if they had a better word for it, they'd have a lot less problem trying to cure it." (I've bolded those words for emphasis).

In his book, The Perfect Mile, Neal Bascomb writes that, "On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to run the mile in less than 4 minutes, a barrier many experts had long considered unbreakable. What is remarkable is that Australia's John Landy and New Zealand's Peter Snell bettered his record that same year. Roger's feat changed the thinking of people in countries all over the world." (I've bolded those words for emphasis).

What do these examples have in common? They all suggest that the key to unlocking our chains lies in the words we use to describe our world.

Consider the possibility that if you want to know what stops someone from achieving a goal, listen to how the goal is described. Could it be that describing a goal as "difficult," "strenuous," or "tough" creates those outcomes and that talking about a goal as "achievable," "exciting," or "inspiring" creates outcomes that conform to those descriptions?

Isn't it amazing how we can predict the future? Or, perhaps, not so amazing. Perhaps the process is quite straight forward: We predict how the future will occur when we describe that future and then, naturally, live out that prediction.

Or, as ancient wisdom has noted, "Be careful what you wish for. You may get it."

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Larry Barkan has 1 articles online


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Our Words Create Our Future

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This article was published on 2010/03/29