One key goal I set for 2010 is to watch the words I use and harness the power they can have on myself and those I speak with. Language is extremely powerful in how we perceive ourselves and connect with others. Basically, the words you choose, consciously or subconsciously, determine your reputation, the influence you cast on others and the respect you receive. Ultimately, the words you speak with can affect the quality and value of your overall network, both business and personal.
Here are two effective ways to help harness the power of words and using them to not just earn respect and have your thoughts valued, but much, much more.
The book “The Art of Worldy Wisdom” by Baltasar Gracian touches on one aspect of this;
#129 “Never complain. Complaints will always discredit you. Rather than compassion and consolation, they provoke passion and insolence, and encourage those who hear our complaints to behave like those we complain about.”
Reading this was like getting slapped in the face with a stamp that colors “GUILTY”. I barely noticed it consciously before. It’s even more of a trip to just keep tallies and count how many complaints you hear throughout the day. Look at this way; when you are complaining or listening to someone complain, are they happy or pissed off? Are they positive or negative? Constructive or whiny? Making actions or just excuses? More important, would you want to hang out with, or do business, with these people?
Baltasar Gracian continues…
“It is better policy to praise the favors others have done for you, so as to win still more of them. When you tell how those absent have favored you, you are asking those present to do the same, and pay in the same coin. The prudent person should never publicize dishonor or slights, only the esteem others have shown him. Thus he will have friends and halve his enemies.”
Wow. I took the sandwich out of my mouth and repeated that again, just in case I misunderstood….When you tell how those absent have favored you, you are asking those present to do the same. This is how powerful the words you choose to speak with can influence those around you.
Think about it. You are hanging out with someone who you looked up to, value their friendship tremendously, or highly respect. Whenever they talk about someone who is not present, it is always focusing on praise or highlights a good quality that person has. Whenever they talk about their friends, they have nothing but praise for them. Your thinking, “Damn! This person surrounds himself with great people.” Chances are, if you also want to form a mutually beneficial relationship with this person, you’ll step your game up and try to emulate the people they praise.
Genuine Praise (keyword is genuine) of people and friends when they are not present to others is an effective tool on so many levels. You’ll be more positive. It helps promote and refer your friends for opportunities, and you’ll be known as a great connector, which your friends will highly appreciate. And ultimately, it helps set the standards for those who aspire to associate with you. This is a great stepping stone towards building an invaluable, mutual benefiting network of friends and bad-asses.