I have always been fascinated with the power of words. As Gary, Jay and I were writing our books we would often take time to really drill down on a particular word or range of words, like spiritual versus religious or power versus force. In the late 1990’s, Gary and I spent a whole afternoon exploring the concept of thought, word and deed.
In fact, it became a part of the Quantum Leap course focusing on the path from inner to outer creation. When you get it clear in your mind, then you can make it happen in the physical universe. Stephen Covey called it the “dual creation.” Wayne Dyer calls it “manifesting your destiny.”
So words have power. They first allow us to articulate our thoughts and then to act on them. We use words to communicate, to connect, to influence and to serve. And, the power of words is well beyond simple scripts and dialogues. Learning to say things powerfully is important, but getting things right in our own mind is empowering. Self talk is the most important conversation we’ll ever have.
And, this brings us to “Angels and Demons” – the title of this essay. I am fascinated by the way that words come in bunches connected to similar meanings or emotional states.
For me, “A” and “D” form the real dichotomy of self-talk. They are the angels and demons of how we think and what we say to ourselves. There are the Demons of doubt, denial, despair, discouragement and depression. There are the Angels of affirmation, assertiveness, achievement, appreciation and (thank you Abraham Maslow) actualization. And, the ultimate duality: dead versus alive.
In personal development seminars I have often worked with people to consciously shift the words they use and the thoughts they focus on. For me there is a run of A’s that are powerful: awareness, affirmation, action, accountability, achievement and actualization.
AWARENESS: be mindful, be curious and stay learning-based – “know thyself.”
AFFIRMATION: acknowledge your uniqueness, assess your special gifts, assert your rights and seek your opportunities – “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
ACTION: have the courage to be proactive, to set goals and pursue them, to persist and adapt along the way – “constant improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
ACCOUNTABILITY: own it, measure it, track it and seek feedback – “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
ACHIEVEMENT: go for it, make progress, compete, win and grow – “success is the progressive realization of predetermined, personal, worthwhile goals.”
ACTUALIZATION: be all you can be, serve others, challenge yourself, have no regrets – “your life is God’s gift to you, how you live is your gift to God.”
Most therapies and psychological counseling deal with the “D’s” – the Demons. They can be pernicious and destructive. It takes courage, resilience and tenacity to remove them from our thoughts and our behavior. Overcoming “self-limiting beliefs” is a life long endeavor. It is the battle against the “dark side.”
Here is the thought to take away: “embrace the A’s, erase the D’s – life is short, play your A-game!”