The Language of Now
By Robert Silverstone
“The wisdom of living in the present moment is the most comforting
companion. It reminds us of one of the greatest truths of all time:
All things can change in an instant, no matter what the challenge.”
— Carolyn Myss
What is the Language of Now?
Before we can explore the Language of Now, we must first understand the power of now. The best way to sum up the power of now is with this observation. Who we are today, who we have become now, is a direct result of our thoughts, words and actions of the past … until now. Who we choose to become tomorrow and in the future, will be a direct result of our thoughts, words and actions today … now … in this and each subsequent moment! That is powerful … and true!
In the moment
Someone said: “If you can get here and now, you can get anywhere!” By operating in the pres-ent moment, our concentration is more focused, our energy more balanced and our ability to adapt to changing circumstances is more readily available.
Power of words
Sigmund Freud said: “Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or the deepest despair.” By becoming more aware of our words and making even minor adjustments to the way we use them, we can dramatically change our relationships, our environment and our lives.
Every _expression that we make about ourselves in the present moment, the present tense, is the Language of Now. What we express in the moment, in the present tense, can be either self-empowering or self-defeating. The purpose of this text is to help bring awareness to our current language and illuminate those aspects that might serve us well if we would make some incremental change or changes.
“Behaviors of the past are the best predictors of the results of the future.” It has been said: “Insanity is to continue doing what you’ve been doing and expecting a different result.” So much has been written about this from the spiritual masters of the past to the motivational leaders of today, and they all point to one thing … change. And the changes of which they speak are not huge, overwhelming and monumental. They are small, incremental and barely perceptible. These are the changes we’re talking about and they’re available to all of us, right here, right now, if we are OPEN!
What can happen if we change our language?
I recently had a coaching session with a client who told me “I always get into trouble in negotiations.” Over the years, I have been able to fine tune my hearing to pick up on words others are using that may be self-defeating or self-destructive. In this example, I heard two.
First was the word “always.” It is rare, that anything is “always” the case. A more accurate word might be “often,” “mostly” or “sometimes.” Expressing something as “always” or “never” or any other absolute, we may run the risk of making that a prediction of the future, when it most likely was not that way in the past.
The second is more important and it is the one that I hear the most. The verb “get” in the present tense, is taking an issue or tendency of the past and giving it power in the present moment, thereby immediately projecting it into the future and giving it power over future behavior and outcome. The moment the words leave our lips, it is as if we are projecting them into the future much like a movie is projected onto the screen. A better way of making this _expression, without taking anything away from the truth, would be to say “in the past” or “until now.”
I invited my client to reframe his comment by making the two changes
identified here. His re-frame was “In the past, I used to mostly get
into trouble in negotiations.” Once he said that, I asked him how
it made him feel. He described the feeling as “lighter” and
“liberating.” He felt a shift, in that moment, and since then, I
have observed that change gaining traction as he brings it to bear
in more of his language.
In another example, a client expressed to me she was “going to try to give up control.” Once again, there were two words in this statement that troubled me. The first was the word “going” which implies that somewhere, sometime in the future, this was going to take place. The second was the word “try” which indicates a lack of commitment or lack of belief in their ability to succeed.
The reframe, after much back and forth, evolved into “I am giving up control.” The moment she said that, she noticed the change in her behavior had already occurred. In the weeks following, she found that giving up control became easier than ever before and it completely changed how she ran her business, and her life.
How do we change our language?
Here are a few ideas to help you reframe or modify your language so you are more focused on the language of now:
1. Invite a friend or family member to (gently) point out when they hear you making potentially self-defeating statements.
2. Listen closely to others and the way they express themselves, observing places where their language is that of the future, or the past, as opposed to the now. Be sure not to point it out to them, unless they have granted you permission.
3. When watching TV or listening to the radio, listen to the way people talk when being interviewed. You may be surprised to find that most people use this kind of language, simply because they are unaware of its potentially negative impact.
4. When writing in your journal, or writing letters or emails, read over what you wrote and see if any of your language would be better served by such modification.
5. One of the most powerful statements you can make begins with the words “I am ….” When considering whatever you say following “I am …” is true and being projected into the future, you may catch yourself, so that whatever follows is positive, supportive and self-empowering.
6. If you don’t have friends or family who can, or who are willing to help, hire a coach who is trained to play that role.
These are simple and incremental changes. They are changes all of us are equipped and able to make. The potentially positive impact of those changes can only be experienced. They cannot be described or explained. You are invited to experience the power of the Language of Now. This invitation is not for tomorrow, or next week. This invitation is for right here, right now!
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