ords have power. The words you say both out loud and inside your own head carry weight. You can often get hooked on words, and in so doing find yourself trapped in difficult thoughts and feelings.
Attaching to these words can lead to believing what that little voice in your head is telling you. “I’m lazy.” “I’m stupid.” “I’m bad with money.” When you fuse with these thoughts you start to take actions that manifest these thoughts in your life.
In coaching there are a few exercises we use to show the power of words, and also to show how to let go of the attachment you may have formed to certain words and phrases.
I’d like to invite you to take part in a quick experiment. It will take only a minute. And it will show you something very, very important about that voice inside your head.
- Listen to what that little voice is telling you about yourself right now
- Whatever that story is, find the keyword (if your inner voice is saying “I’m lazy” then the keyword would be lazy
- Now take that word and repeat it over and over again, out loud for 45 seconds
- Lazy, lazy, lazy…
- Yes right now, I’ll wait…
- Yes out loud
What did you discover?
Most people find that the word quickly loses all meaning.
It quickly becomes almost unintelligible.
As such, its impact is diminished.
It’s important to note that this exercise is not about removing or suppressing the difficult thought or feeling. It’s still there. You have simply altered your relationship, or attachment, to that word phrase and therefore to the difficult thought or feeling associated with it.
Word repetition exercises, like this one, were first used by British psychologist Edward B. Titchener in 1916. This exercise is over 100 years old and has been proven effective in numerous peer-reviewed studies. Perhaps, more importantly, you just proved it to yourself.
Often this exercise uses the word ‘milk’.
So, before you run off to do something else.
Think about all the qualities of milk.
The creaminess, the feel, the taste, the smell.
And now say milk, out loud, over and over again, for 45 seconds.
Milk, milk, milk, milk, milk…
Even the word milk seems to lose its impact after just 45 seconds.