Are you in the driver’s seat? It’s time to figure it out.

The words you use put you either in the driver’s seat or in the passenger seat of your life. Now, where would you rather be?

This post connects to last weeks where I was talking about meditation and the power of the mind. So, lets look at some specific examples of how you can shape your brain by using your words wisely [1] and why you should. When you say “I have to…” or “I must…” you put yourself into a state of being in the passenger seat. Here you have no say or control of the matter, because you just “have to”. There is no available choice there. Not to mention what happens when we are talking negatively about ourselves saying things like “I’m so stupid”, “I don’t deserve…” or “I’m not good enough”.

“Any form of negative rumination—for example, worrying about your financial future or health—will stimulate the release of destructive neurochemicals.” -Andrew Newberg

Neuroscientist Caroline Leaf talks about how when we feel physical pain a certain part of the brain will be activated, which can be measured. This same part of the brain will be activated when you are talking negatively to yourself![1] If we continue to stimulate this part of the brain, we make it easier to feel pain simply from the words that we use, because a main pathway (between words and pain) is continuously being developed. That is why it is so important to look at the small things in life that we do continuously, as they often are more disruptive long-term than any one big mishap.

“Via self-talk we give our mind instructions on what we expect of ourselves and so behave accordingly. Change the instructions and we change the outcomes.” -Sam Owen [3]

Actually, if you think about it there are very few things in life that we have to do. We have to drink water and eat food and that’s about it. We do not even have to breathe, I mean yes we do, but this is something that the autonomic system in the brain controls, it is not something that we have to think about doing. Wait, wait wait, so by that reasoning you are saying I don’t have to go to work, I don’t have to pick up the kids from school and I don’t have to pay my bills. You have got to be kidding right? Actually I am not. There is nothing that says that you have too. Of course there will be consequences if you don’t, but that is a different thing.

The next time you are about to say I have to, change it into I choose to. See what happens to your mindset when you have chosen to do it. Maybe it is not your most favorable task that is ahead, but choosing to take out the trash is very different from being told that you have too, right? By the simple act of changing one word you are now back in the driver’s seat, and the power is back in your corner. That is a pretty decent impact, wouldn’t you say? Try changing I can’t… into “I prioritize” or “I choose not to” and see how that shifts things. Change I don’t have time into I choose not to because I prioritize xyz.

“The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life.” -Don Miguel Ruiz

Remember that real change takes time. Start with listening. Which words are you using often? Do they put you in the passenger seat or the driver’s seat?

Here is a classic for motivation  🙂




[2] Andrew Newberg Words Can Change Your Brain

[3] Sam Owen 500 Relationships and Life Quotes

[4] Don Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements Companion Book

The most dangerous word in the world