“The way we see the problem is the problem.”
What is the impact of words?
I was re-listening to Anthony Robbins audio tape, “Changing your vocabulary and body language“. The tape brought out an interesting point saying that the transformation of vocabulary brings a difference in attitude. It was quite interesting to listen to that. We have always been huge fans of communication and how the words have an impact on us. I do realize that it might seem a little specious when I talk about this, and I am sure some of you would look at me in disbelief if I try and support the idea right away.
How can words determine what you feel?
Well, even I was quite doubtful when I heard this – How can the words you use determine how you feel? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round? Lets try and imagine this – you are in office, things are not the way they are supposed to be and you are pressed for a decision – what is the first word you’d use to describe the situation if you were to use only one word? Some may say stress, some irritation, some annoyance, some bothered, some challenged and so on.. Some may go to the extreme of being tensed. I know these all are words, let us try to look at it in a little different way.
If you can define your emotions with words, why can’t it be the other way round?
Try and imagine how you would react if you are using the above words – irritated, stressed, challenged, peeved, disappointed, destroyed, scared, threatened, afraid, nervous, anxious and so on. Are you feeling the same each time you think of yourself in these situations? If you twitched, if you moved, if you felt that there was a change in emotion, then there is no way that you can deny your words having an impact on what you feel. If you are still not convinced – well you have an impact on the words you use right? Why not the other way round? Isn’t that fair?
What other words can we use?
Assuming that it is true, I am sure we all are very articulate people who know to use words very well to describe our troubles. What if we make a small change, instead of calling the problem – Problem, can we call it a challenge instead, a set back, a small detour? I know that it doesn’t magically solve the problem, but it does help you to look at it better. You can go ahead and use the word nervous breakdown as well but using that is not going to make your problem any smaller! Given a choice, I would still like to err on the side which reduces the pressure on me.
What happens if we use a lighter word?
What happens in case we call the problem a challenge? Doesn’t your mind get into a competitive mode where you try and solve the problem instead of being in a place where we let it take all over us? I mean the first reaction and the mental image I get when I see a problem is that I feel that I am in a race and I should find a way to win it. And the first one when I imagine a problem, I feel like I am holding a boulder on my shoulder and succumbing to its weight, kinda like the picture above! I mean if the problem is the same, the situation is the same, what is the loss if I call it a challenge. I do agree that it is not going to change the situation magically cos I know that nothing trumps action. But the way we look at it is certainly going to make a difference.
Definition of a problem
Also, while writing this I got a little curious to know the meaning of a problem and as always Google stood for my rescue. The very definition says “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.” Getting a little more curious I typed challenge and this is what it said “a call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength.” No wonder why I feel positive when I call it a challenge, it gives me an opportunity to WIN!
Problems take different size, shapes and colors
I am sure problem comes in all sizes, shapes and colors,…..whatever kind of variations we want to define it as – A small one with a self- explanatory big-sized tag or a big one with a self explanatory small-sized tag. The choice always comes down to us as the last person, we can choose to be bogged down by it and let it get the better of us or maybe grow a little over it and then you have a better reason to smile 🙂