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Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

People have the ability to change with a new insight or idea, but what happens when you are telling yourself through your actions all of the wrong things?

Communication is always happening and most of what is communicated isn’t even in the words that we are telling ourselves or others. Likely you have heard the phrase “Only 7% of our communication is verbal. The other 93% happens to be non-verbal.”

There is a lot going on there that we might not know about!

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The Actions We Take

The most valuable communication you have is with yourself. Through the years many schools of thought have contributed in attempts to help people communicate better with themselves in order to be happier and to help others get more success in their lives. From affirmations and positive thinking to vision boards and meditations, all of these ideas have been presented to allow someone to communicate the right messages that will empower someone versus the wrong messages that will present limitations and inhibit a person.

With all this talk of what one can say to themselves what is lost most is the communication that can be most important to the lives that we are living. This communication is the actions that we take. 

Sometimes we can be our greatest obstacle in getting what we want or living the lives that we want to live. This is usually noticed in our thoughts about how we would like things to be different, but this thinking comes from our behaviors. What is never talked about is all the hidden messages that you are sending yourself through the actions that you take in your life. For further introspection, let’s look at the following examples:

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Talking to That Person You Like

A man sees an attractive woman that he would like to meet at the grocery store. He might have been working with affirmations or on his confidence before seeing this stunning sight of nature, but the moment he decides to take the action of not talking to her, he is telling himself that he is not good enough. It doesn’t have to be true or not, but your mind takes in this message regardless and this non-action. This action then overrides any sort of positive thinking or affirmations that were originally done so that he could be more confident.

Instead, if this man takes the action to approach this woman, he at least affirms to himself that he is good enough and that he goes after what he wants. It doesn’t have to go well and generally this message from the outside world is going to mean far less to him than the message that he gives to him internally. It is far more important for you to tell yourself that you are good enough than for someone else to.

Charging Others for Your Time in Business

Recently I was working with an entrepreneur who coaches CEOs and other business professionals to accomplish their business goals. This man was spending time in excess of two hours on free coaching calls with men who make far more than he does. In doing this action he was communicating many things to himself that were not helping himself or his own business development. Among the messages that he was sending himself in not charging a premium for his services was:

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  • “I’m not worth anything.”
  • “My time isn’t valuable.”
  • “People shouldn’t pay for my services.”

In looking at the messages that he did want to send to himself I told him that he needed to charge a premium for his services and that he needed to delegate his time efficiently. The way I saw it was that this entrepreneur had a lot to offer the world, but if he doesn’t affirm this to himself then he won’t be able to believe it in himself. When this happens, it is very hard for others to believe it in you as well.

Making Time for Yourself

A house wife can be a blessing and she really holds a house together, but if she doesn’t take time for herself, then she and the house can fall apart. For a woman who devotes all of her time to taking care of the kids, the bills, and the house, but no time for herself – this says a lot to her about what she thinks about herself and how she can care for herself. This message can also lead her to a troublesome place.

The messages that she sends to herself by putting herself last are ones of other people having more importance than herself. It is important to take care of others, but when this woman doesn’t take care of herself everything else can crumble down. This message of not being important can affect one’s self-esteem and can really create a situation where someone is unhappy with themselves. Instead, it is important to take time for yourself every day. It says that you value yourself and that you are important. If you think you are important, others are much more likely to as well.

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This hidden communication in the actions that we take is far-reaching and probably even more important than the verbal messages that we give to ourselves.

I recently had the opportunity to reach out to an ultra famous podcaster who I respect. In emailing him I knew that he would probably turn me down to be on the show, but I asked myself about the person who I wanted to be. In my answer to myself, I affirmed that I wanted to show up in a way where I believed in myself and where my actions were in agreement with my highest goals.

Despite my measly Twitter following compared to this man’s behemoth of supporters, I made the decision to reach out to him anyways to see if he would be interested in a collaboration. In a positive response, he affirmed to me that he was grateful for my action, but he politely declined. While my highest intent was to get on that show because it’s huge, this action was about more for me than just that. It wasn’t the outside validation that was of chief importance, but rather the internal affirmation of myself that meant the most to me. The message that I believed I was good enough was the most empowering.

Look at the messages you are telling yourself through your actions. Are they positive or are they negative? Each and every day through the actions that you take, are you affirming this person who you want to be or are you holding yourself back? I encourage you to really take a moment and decide who you want to be and then act as if you are becoming that person. Through your actions, you communicate even more to yourself about who you think you are and by acting differently you can change how you think about yourself.

Featured photo credit: avacadogirlfriend via flickr.com

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Shawn Schweier

Life Success Coach

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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