Do you believe in the superpower of words? I started to understand it better after I met Fabi. She was born in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. She was ambitious and had a burning desire to get out of poverty. At the age of fourteen, she started working at the factory where she used to deliver sandwiches to the workers after school.
That allowed her to save up enough money to attend university and buy herself a ticket to freedom. Unfortunately, the needs of her family got in the way and so she went back to work. A few times she tried to finalize her studies but every attempt was overshadowed by the needs of her mom or her younger sister. Her professional career kept growing despite lacking the accreditations. Her witty and sassy personality got her to become the HR manager of a prestigious Spanish bank in Brazil.
I met a very attractive woman, financially independent with a zest for life that only Brazilians have. Yet, she was single. It was hard to believe she didn’t have a long line of pretenders. We went for coffee; the half-hour business meeting turned into a long-lasting friendship. After three hours sharing stories, travels and dreams I dare to ask her about her love life. Her answer shocked me. Why? I asked naively. That’s when Fabi shared with me the superpower of her mom’s words when she was seven years old.
“I need to get my diploma before I get married”
A ten-word-sentence that changed her love-life story forever. The mandate she received from her mom at age seven couldn’t be fulfilled. The mom’s words were tattooed deep in the heart of this strong and successful thirty-year-old woman. She was loyal to this powerful mandate, and was trapped in it for over twenty-three years! I am sure her mom never knew the superpower of her words!
One of my passions is meeting people and learning from their life stories. After meeting Fabi I started to pay attention to the fact, that in some way or another, we all have strong super powerful words tattooed on our hearts. This is true whether they be from our parents, teachers, friends or mentors. Some of those phrases push us forward in life and some do exactly the opposite. My mom used to say:
“The melons settle in the cart only when the cart is in movement”
That’s a powerful statement that kept me always moving and trying! I believed problems would resolve on the go not waiting for the perfect solution to show up. I believe if you dig into your memories, you will find super powerful words and phrases that somehow shaped you. It’s important to be aware of them and analyze whether they are affecting us positively or negatively.
“Speak when your words are as sweet as silence”
It also made me reflect on the superpower of my own words. Our words impact others in ways we might never know. Hasn’t it happened to you that you meet someone ten years later and they remind you of a sentence you said? Most of the time we don’t remember it or we didn’t think it was important, but for the other person, it meant so much that they still remember it years later! We need to understand what we say to others is a big responsibility! Especially if you are a parent, a teacher or a doctor.
Kids are looking for the approval of respected authorities. Kids need and want to be seen and liked to develop healthily! By the way, don’t you recognize your younger self in these statements? Don’t you want to be seen and heard by your peers, by people holding authority positions like your spiritual guru, your professor, your fellow researcher or your coach? I do!
Who to trust?
Nobody! Yes, I am dead serious. What is true to each person doesn’t mean it will be true to you! As you know “Say YES, Ask question later” is my life philosophy; a way of living. I don’t believe it is for every person on the planet! For some, it might lead them to disaster! Despite that, I think the exercise of asking yourself the questions will advance you in your personal journey of self-awareness. So my most honest advice is as follows: QUESTION EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY.
Five questions before trusting or hiring an authority
These are the 5 recommended questions before trusting someone and giving them the benefit of believing their super-powerful words.
- Are these statements aligned with my personal believes and values? “Fake it till you make it” is a statement I hear more often than not. I will suffer if I needed to live even one day of my life faking anything!
- Do I have the personality type to enjoy living as described by others? I am the type “I”. So if I was advised to live calculating every penny, every minute and structuring my life with deadlines I would NOT be happy and it wouldn’t be long before I burned out!
- What’s the story behind the authority? I always ask what made them decide to do the job they do. When they answer, pay attention to identify words that define dreamers or doers. Always go with the doers!
- Why do I need to be rushed? When I hear “only for today” I actually hear “I am desperately in need of your money”
- Why is their truth the absolute truth? Only when they are talking about exact sciences, like formulas or theorems, I am OK accepting their truth. Otherwise, “truth” is one of the most subjective ideas. It is based on perceptions, perspective, personality and many other variables.
I hope this article sparks your awareness of the superpower of words and guides you to ONLY believe in the voices of authorities you really TRUST.