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Words you choose indicate strength or weakness

September 2003
Words you choose indicate strength or weakness

You can learn to speak with confidence by studying the way you make statements. If you often say "I think," "kind of," "maybe," "probably," or "just," you minimize the importance of your statements.

One of the most empowering things a person can do is to speak confidently because words shape the attitudes of others.

As you consider your linguistics, note how many times you use words that indicate indecision or ambivalence. The word "try," for example, indicates that you will make an attempt, not that you will actually do something. "Try" sets you up for failure because you don't actually have to succeed.

The word "think" has the same connotation. If you say "I think it would be a good idea to ..." your statement is much less powerful than, "It would be a good idea to ..." "I think I could lead this project," is far less effective than, "I could lead this project."

Therapist Carol Juergensen Sheets says in group exercises, she and colleagues find that the average number of times people use these words is 16 times in a five-minute period. When you recognize that you use them, repeat the sentence to yourself without the qualifier and with confidence. Practice to change old patterns of speaking.

Sheets, of Indianapolis Psychiatric Associates, says your ability to speak confidently and assertively makes a difference in how others see you. If words shape attitudes, it's important to choose words that empower your belief in yourself and increase your confidence.


Inventions that changed the world

On his website, www.edge.org, author John Brockman asked scientists and thinkers to name the greatest inventions of the last 2,000 years. Some of their choices were:

The printing press: It was responsible for widespread knowledge, information, and literacy. Let people to build on ideas of others.

Reading glasses: Doubled the active life of people in reading and fine work. Kept the world from being ruled by people under 40.

Clocks: They converted time from a personal experience into a reality and gave a framework for the laws of nature.

Plumbing: Brings clean water to homes and controls microbial diseases like cholera.

The stirrup: It revolutionized warfare and made feudal society possible. With the Magna Carta, feudalism led to the idea of government by consent.

Numbers: Without them, Galileo wouldn't have been able to begin the quantificational study of nature that we now call science.

The pill: Stimulated feminism and changed family structure of Western society.

Computers: They will govern everything we do in the next 20 centuries and push the next phase of human evolution.



We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us.... The old skin has to be shed before the new one is to come.��������������������������������������������������������������������� Joseph Campbell

Wise are they who have learned these truths: Trouble is temporary. Time is tonic. Tribulation is a test tube.��������������������������������������������������������������������� William Arthur Ward

When you forgive, you in no way change the past -- but you sure do change the future.���������������������������������������������������������������Bernard Meltzer

If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want.������������������������������������������������������ Oscar Wilde

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.������������������������������������������ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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