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Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life

Powerful Words That Create a Productive and Optimistic Life
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“I can, I will, because I say so!”   My daughter, age 10 at the time, excitedly read me my supposed special battle cry (according to the Disney horoscope, that is.)  She was in awe at how Disney got it spot on since such words made up my regular pep talk when she felt discouraged.  Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) covers how neurology, language, and programming produce human experience. Words you say habitually create your reality.   State this positive battle cry regularly, believe it, and act on it.  Soon, you’ll begin writing “Done!” on tasks and projects in your To-Do list.  Practice using these other powerful words to create a productive and  collaborative mindset.

1. “I am  …”  The most powerful words that exist.

Far from merely stating a feeling or condition, these two powerful words actually create them. Be especially conscious of what you add to  “I am.”  Catch yourself saying these.  “I’m so upset. I’m annoyed. I’m sure they’ll say no.  I’m scared. I’m sick and tired of … ”  Switch and verbalize these instead.  “I’m able. I am well. I’m feeling good about this. I’m very pleased. I’m open to discussing …”

2. “I will.”

Intention and willingness spill out from “I will.”  You are willing to make the time to tend to someone or something.  When you say it to yourself, you affirm your capability and set your mind to doing the task.  When you say it to someone, it is synonymous to “Consider it done.”   Do not take these powerful words lightly.  Your credibility at work and in life increases with every “I will” that you actually accomplish.

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3. “I am confident. I believe.”

These powerful words immediately remove doubt.  When you are confident, there are no misgivings so you can begin straightaway. In a discussion, notice how the other person smiles and relaxes when you address his concern with “I believe we can do something about this.”  The words do not represent commitment. It means you are willing to consider and have sufficient knowledge of the situation to believe compromise is possible.

4. “I understand.”

Are you listening to instructions for a project?  Is your colleague venting about city traffic? Are your children complaining because you missed an important school event?  The words “I understand” apply to the three scenarios. The first requires comprehension; the second needs a listening ear; and the third calls for a commitment to prioritize your family.  “I understand” adds motivation and meaningful connection to your earlier “I will.”  It demonstrates empathy (versus “I know,” which can sound dismissive.)

5. “I don’t have the answers, but I will find out.”

This statement of negation spoken with honesty releases the power of a specific intention.  Not knowing presents a valuable opportunity to learn something new.  Having the courage to admit you don’t have the answers also removes pressure on your team to know everything all the time.  Such pressure can push people to pretend, with dire consequences. It’s acceptable not to have the answers, and then learn from it.  The next time a similar situation arises, you will definitely know how to respond.

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6. “YOU are right.  It’s my mistake.”

To honesty, now add humility.  Swallowing a piece of humble pie is not easy.  People will just as soon point at colleagues, suppliers, clients, the cat, the weather, or the planets rather than admit they are responsible for a problem.  These powerful words establish where the responsibility for the problem lies—a big step in finding the solution.  Unless someone has the humility to say these words, you can forget about solving any problem.  Admitting a mistake is not a sign of weakness but a measure of courage and solid self-concept.  The admission that you have contributed to a problem comes with the intent to find a solution. You will gain the respect and loyalty of your team when you take actual responsibility.

7. “Would YOU please?”

Productive overachievers perform well individually but are not always good leaders or team persons. That’s usually because they are perfectionists, reluctant to delegate and unwilling to collaborate.  You could be outstanding at numbers 1 through 4 above and have no reason to say number 5 or 6, but you would be missing out on fulfillment from synergy. These powerful words acknowledge other people’s contributions. You gain new perspective and they grow in experience as they perform. It’s about mentoring.  Step back and let other team members shine. They will be motivated to realize their potential and you will learn about being a true leader.

8. “I appreciate.”

Thank you, stated sincerely with a smile, can make someone’s day.  “I appreciate” has even greater impact.  These powerful words can rapidly manifest good things.  Say it promptly to someone for something specific and you will motivate her to continue doing well.   Apply its creative effect on you with a nightly habit of listing down the things you appreciate each day, and you will become fully aware of the wonderful things in your life here and now. Showing gratitude about something always creates more of the same.

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9. “WE can try.”

Hotel expatriate work contracts usually run for two years, and I’ve witnessed these scenarios regularly.  A new manager, eager to prove himself, will immediately change existing procedures and implement his way of doing things—even when the old system works just fine.  Or he has a really innovative idea but the team—used to doing things the old way—put up a lot of resistance.  “We can try” are powerful words that reduce friction in a situation.  It involves an attempt to retain existing procedures that work well.  It produces a willingness to test new ideas before lining up complaints about how (you think) they won’t work.

10. “Yes, WE can! WE are committed. Expect only the best!”

These powerful words hold a guarantee that a thing simply IS. Its power is found in the collective confidence of your team.  Such commitment becomes part of a brand. Its power extends over to public perception and the unquestionable quality associated with the brand and logo. Think of the globally acknowledged quality of Mercedes Benz engineering, Patek Philippe time pieces, and Michelin Star restaurants.  “We are committed” represents a powerful challenge and a worthwhile achievement that produces game-changing results.

Powerful words draw your reality. What you think and say create your experience.  Deliberately choose positive words in thoughts, speech, and with music as you sing about and expect “good things are happening.”  Singer songwriter Dan MacKenzie obviously agrees.

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Featured photo credit: joey zanotti via flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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