Sometimes I hear people say stuff that makes me go, “huh”?
I had the pleasure of sitting in front of a very vocal dad at one of my son’s basketball games this year. His son — who was a fairly good player — made several mistakes throughout the game, including a missed free-throw and a couple of turnovers. One of the turnovers was clearly caused by the boy’s high rate of speed combined with his low level of dribbling ability (this is 6th grade basketball, not the NBA…yet).
Instead of the typical, “That’s alright” or “Shake it off” or even a helpful, “Slow down a little,” this kid’s dad had the same, lame encouragement for every mistake:
Did your eyebrows just scrunch up & your eyes roll to the side like mine did when I first heard it? You know, the international symbol for “What did he just say?”
This comment wasn’t reserved for truly unlucky situations like the ball rolling around the rim eight times before deciding to fall out instead of in. This dad projected the unlucky response for literally every mistake the boy made.
- Air ball free-throw? UNLUCKY!
- Dribbled off your own foot? UNLUCKY!
- Intentionally fouling another player? UNLUCKY!
I wondered to myself if this guy had any idea what he was programming into his son. I instantly pictured how this might play out later in life:
- Got a ticket for going 80mph in a 25mph zone? UNLUCKY!
- Reprimanded because you missed a deadline? UNUCKY!
- Got fired because you suck at your job? UNLUCKY!
I have a vision of this poor kid accepting absolutely no responsibility for his own success or failure as an adult. He’s being programmed to be a victim. And sadly, by his own father.
The language we use is powerful. It’s like the Force in Star Wars — it can be used to advance the light side or the dark side of our possibility.
The reason our language is so powerful is because what you speak creates your reality. Think about it. Everything in your life began as first a thought, then an expression either verbally or mentally. You don’t think about building a house, then just go build it in silence. It starts to become real the moment you say, “I’m going to build a house,” yes?
Use words like “unlucky” and you’ll program yourself (and others) to instantly become a victim…as if the entire Universe is conspiring against you. Tell me that’s not powerful in a bad, bad, Darth Vader kind of way. If you remember, Darth Vader tried to pull his son to the dark side, too. All I can say is thank God for the positive influence of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Ever notice that the most successful people take “unlucky” situations and figure out how to create better luck for themselves next time? If they screw up, they don’t blame the Universe. The don’t ask “Why did that happen to ME?” They ask “Why did that happen and what can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?“
Check your language — is it empowering you or not?
Any disempowering words in your vocabulary? Any stories you tell yourself about how unlucky you are, how other people have it easier, how you can’t ever get ahead, how you’ll probably never get the success you deserve?
Remember, disempowering language doesn’t necessarily have to be spoken to be destructive. It can be pretty darn powerful even if it never leaves your head.
Be extra careful with the language you speak out loud because it influences others. Are the words you use creating positive outcomes? Are you encouraging yourself and others? Are you building people up? Are you speaking things into existence that you really want?
How do you view a penny?
I found a penny today. I could have easily thought/spoke something like “Ehh, a worthless penny. Not even worth the effort to pick up.
” Instead, I borrowed something Dr. Wayne Dyer
says when he finds a penny. “Abundance is all around me. Look! Money just finds me!“
Which response is more empowering? Which response is more fun????? My teammate, Heather, and I both giggled at my (ok, Wayne’s) quirky response. But you know what? It sure felt good to say it. I’d say it gave us more than a penny’s worth of positivity.
Here’s another way to look at it. A victim sees a penny on the sidewalk, walks on by and says to herself “I lose pennies all the time. That’s just my luck.” The successful person says “Lucky ME! I found a penny!” and PICKS IT UP.
I’m tellin’ ya, people make their own luck. That’s just been my experience. But then again, I’m one of the lucky ones.
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