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One Word Has the Power to Alter Your Results


New Studies Show One Word has the Power to Alter An Outcome

Words can be used to activate change. This is a key theory behind my prosperity meditations. “Mind is the builder,” said Edgar Cayce, the most documented psychic in history. “Thoughts are things.”

Now, in his own fascinating book, The Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Wharton professor, Adam Grant, offers a number of compelling studies to expand our thinking in a number of areas.

One of which has to do with motivation. In one study:

“Before college students gave their speech, Brooks asked them to speak three words out loud. She randomly assigned them to say either ‘I am calm’ or ‘I am excited.’

That one word–calm versus excited–was sufficient to significantly alter the quality of their speeches. When students labeled their emotions as excitement, their speeches were rated as 17 percent more persuasive and 15 percent more confident than those of students who branded themselves calm.” 

Since I’m going through rehab for my leg and ankle, I decided to do my own mini experiment. Walking is still difficult for me and yet something I used to enjoy. As I trudged my way to Whole Foods Market, I soon felt as if I’d walked enough.

Then I remembered the college students and tried excitement as the cue. What if I were excited about how my ankle fared on this walk? What if I became curious and really related to my ankle, rather than just pushing myself forward, trying to be like I thought I once was.

About to turn back, I turned to excitement. What was going on with my ankle? How might this walk affect it. Somehow I made it to the store without going back for the car.

Was I as motivated on the way back, groceries in hand? Well, a little less. It was more start and stop and more self reminders about the process.

I find self help books help best when we take them on as verbs in our own lives. So give this simple one a try?

I recommend this book for a number of reasons, another of which is the section about birth order affecting risk taking. If you’re the oldest or the youngest of siblings, this will be of special interest.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World