The Power of Spoken Words | Inspirational Literary Podcasts

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Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book Your Forces and How to Use Them by Christian D. Larson, published in 1910.

Every word that is spoken exercises a power in your personal life, and that power will work either for or against you, depending upon the nature of the word. You can talk yourself into trouble, poverty, or disease. And you can talk yourself into harmony, health, and prosperity. In brief, you can talk yourself into almost any condition, desirable or undesirable.

Every word is an expression, and every expression produces a tendency in some part of you. This tendency may appear in the mind, in the body, in the chemical life of the body, in the world of desire, in character, or anywhere in the personality. Our expressions determine largely where we are to go, what we are to accomplish, and how we are to meet those conditions through which we may pass.

When our expressions produce tendencies towards sickness and failure, we will begin to move towards those conditions. And if the tendency is very strong, all the creative energies inside you will move in the same direction, focusing their efforts upon sickness and failure, and thereby producing such conditions in your life.

On the other hand, when our expressions produce tendencies towards health, happiness, power, and success, we will begin to move towards those things, and in like manner create them in due measure. Every word has an inner life force, sometimes called the hidden power of words, and it is the nature of this power that determines whether the expression is to be favorable or not.

This power may be constructive or destructive. It may move towards the superior or the inferior. It may promote your purpose in life or it may retard that purpose, and it is the strongest when it is deeply felt. Therefore the words which we inwardly feel are the words that act as turning points in our lives.

When you feel that trouble is coming, and express that feeling in your speech, you are actually turning your path and beginning to move towards that trouble. We all know that the more trouble we feel in the midst of a problem, the more troublesome that problem will become. And we also know that that person who retains poise and self-control in the midst of trouble, will pass through it all without being seriously affected; and when it is over, is much wiser and stronger for the experience.

When you feel that better days are coming, and express that feeling in your speech, you turn all the power of your being towards the ideal of better days, and those powers will begin to create better circumstances in your life. Whenever you talk about success, advancement, or any desirable condition, try to express the feeling of those things in your words.

This inner feeling determines the tendencies of your creative powers; therefore, when you feel success in your speech, you cause the creative powers to create qualities in yourself that can produce success—while if you express the feeling of doubt, failure, or loss in your words, those creative powers will produce inferiority, disturbance, discord, and a tendency to mistakes.

It is in this way that the thing we fear comes upon us. Fear is a feeling that feels the coming of ills or other things we do not want; and as we always express through our words the feelings that we fear, we form tendencies toward those things, and the creative powers within us will produce them.

Whether the inner life force of a word will be constructive or destructive depends upon several factors, the most important of which are the tone, the motive, and the idea. The tone of every word should be harmonious, wholesome, pleasing, and should convey a deep and serene expression. Words that express whines, discontent, sarcasm, aggressiveness and the like are destructive.

Nothing is ever gained by complaints that are whining, nor by criticisms that are critical. When things are not right, state so in a tone of voice that is firm and strong, but kind. Words of constructive power are never loud or confusing, but always quiet and serene, filled with the very spirit of conviction.

Never give expression to what you do not wish to encourage. The more you talk about a thing the more you help it along. The “walls have ears” (as the say) and the world is full of minds that will act upon your suggestions.

Never mention the dark side of anything. It will interfere with your welfare. To tell your troubles may give you temporary relief, but it is a broadcast that often produces another crop of more trouble.

If you have troubles, turn your back upon them and proceed to talk about harmony, freedom, attainment, and success, and feel deeply the spirit of these new and better conditions. Thus you will begin to create for yourself a new life, new opportunities, new environment, and a new world.

Never speak unless you have something to say that gives cheer, encouragement, information, or inspiration. The motive of every word should be constructive, and the life expressed in every word should convey the larger, the better, and the superior. Such words have building power, and thus they should express, as far as possible, absolute truth.

What is meant by speaking absolute truth is a matter that most people do not understand. So, let me provide a few example taken from our daily speech. People who think that they have to say something and have nothing in particular to say, always take refuge in a brief description of the weather. In their descriptions they usually employ such expressions as “It is so hot today,” “This is terrible weather,” “What an ugly day,” and so on. But such expressions do not change the weather, and there is no use of talking, if your words are not to be of value in some way.

You may say all sorts of disagreeable things about the weather without changing the weather in the least, but will such expressions leave you unchanged? Positively not! Whenever you declare that something is horrible, you cause horrible thoughts to send their actions all through your nervous system. These actions may be weak, but many drops, no matter how small, will finally wear away a rock.

When people talk about themselves, they seldom fail to give expression to a score of detrimental statements. Here are a few: “I can’t stand this,” “I feel so tired,” “I cannot bear to think of it,” ” I am thoroughly disgusted,” “I am getting nervous,” “My memory is failing,” “I am getting old,” ” I cannot work the way I used to,” “There is no chance for me anymore,” “This has been a hard day,” “I have nothing but bad luck,” “If I eat that I’ll get fat.”

A thousand other statements, all of them destructive, might be mentioned, but anyone who understands the power of thought will realize at once that such statements can never be otherwise but injurious and should therefore be avoided. These statements are not only injurious — they are also untrue — absolutely untrue in every sense of the term.

The fact is you can stand almost anything if you forget your human weakness and array yourself in spiritual strength. You do not have to get tired. Most work does not make anyone tired, so long as they get enough sleep every night. It is wrong thinking that makes people tired. These are scientific facts. The person who permits themselves to become disgusted by anything whatsoever is talking themselves down to the plane of inferiority. When you feel disgusted, you think disgusting thoughts, and such thoughts clog the mind.

You cannot afford to think negative thoughts simply because something else is bad, because we daily become like the thoughts we think. We cannot improve disagreeable things by making ourselves disagreeable. Two wrongs never made a right. The proper course is to forgive the wrong-doer, forget the wrong and then do something substantial to right the whole matter.

The person who constantly thinks that they are easily disturbed disturbs themselves. When we are in harmony with everything (including ourselves) and refuse to be otherwise, nothing will ever disturb us. The person who is nervous can make the matter worse by saying that they are nervous, because such a statement is a nervous statement and full of discord.

When we begin to feel nervous, we can remedy the matter absolutely by resolving to remain calm, and by employing only quiet, positive, and constructive speech. Your words will cause you to move in the direction indicated by the nature of your words, and it is just as easy to use words that bring calmness and poise, as those that bring disharmony and confusion.

If you believe that there are no opportunities for you, this is caused by the fact that you have hidden yourself in a cave of inferiority. Go out into a life of worth, ability, and competence, and you will find more opportunities than you can use. The world is ever in search of competent minds, and modern knowledge has made it possible for us to develop our abilities.

Almost no one has any legitimate reason for speaking of hard luck or hard times unless you prefer to live in a state of want. The more you complain about hard times, the harder times will become for you—while if you resolve to forget that there IS such a thing as failure and proceed to make your own life as you wish it to be, the opportunities for success will surely come.

The idea that the pathway of life is all uphill work is also a false one, and if we give that idea expression we are simply placing obstacles in our way. Nothing is uphill work when we approach it properly, and there is nothing that helps more to place us in true relationship with things than true expression.

The person who declares that there is always something wrong is always doing something to make things wrong. When we have wrong on the brain we will make many mistakes, so there will always be something wrong brewing for us. When wrong things come, set them right, and look upon the experience as an opportunity for you to develop greater mastership.

The greatest essential is to make all speech constructive. In daily conversation, the law of constructive speech should be conscientiously applied. What we say to others will determine to a considerable degree what they are to think, and what tendencies their mental actions are to follow; and since we are the product of our thoughts, conversation becomes a most important factor in the development of ourselves and others.

We steadily grow into the likeness of that which we think of the most, and what we are to think about depends largely upon the mode, the nature and the subject matter of our conversation. When conversation originates or intensifies the tendency to think about the wrong, the ordinary or the inferior, it becomes destructive, and likewise it tends to keep before mind the faults and defects that may exist in human nature.

To be constructive, conversation should tend to turn attention upon the better side, the stronger side, the superior side of all things, and should give the ideal the most prominent place in thought, speech, or expression.

When anyone is going wrong, it is a mistake to warn them not to go further. It is also a mistake to leave them alone. The proper course is to call their attention to something better, and frame our conversation in such a way that they become wholly absorbed in the better. They will then forget their old mistakes, their old faults and their old desires, and focus their attention and power to the building of that better vision which now fills their mind.

It is common for us to try to make our friends perfect according to our own idea of perfection, and we usually proceed by constantly talking to our friends about their faults, and what they should not do in order to become as perfect as our ideal. Parents, as a rule, do the same with their children, not knowing that through this method many people are made worse. Indeed, it is only those who are very strong in mind and character that are not adversely affected by this method.

To help our friends or our children to become ideal, we should never mention their faults. Our conversation should deal with the strong points of character and the greater possibilities of mind. We should so frame our conversation that we tend to make everybody feel there is something in them. Our conversation should have an optimistic tendency and an ascending tone. It should deal with those things in life that are worthwhile, and it should always give the ideal the greatest prominence. Weaknesses of human nature should be recognized as little as possible, and should seldom, if ever, be mentioned.

When people engage in destructive conversation in our midst we should try to change the subject, by calling their attention to the better side. There always is another and a better side. And when examined closely, it will be found to be far greater and infinitely more important than the ordinary side. Admirable qualities exist everywhere, and it is always in the best interest of ourselves and others to give these our undivided attention.

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