Your Words Have Power

Seven or eight months ago I got an extremely thoughtful message from my old friend Jim Donovan. It’s one of those messages you keep in your inbox because you know you want to read it again in the future. He’s given me permission to share it here with you so you can be touched by it too…

Let’s examine our self-talk more closely. Throughout the day, during every waking hour, we are carrying on a running dialogue with ourselves. We are constantly thinking, or more accurately, talking to ourselves in every waking moment.

Hundreds of words per minute pass through our conscious minds as we go about our day. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, most people’s self-talk is negative. This is probably due to the number of negative messages we heard as we were growing up and continue to hear today.

These came from other, perhaps well intentioned, people or individuals who were themselves living in a negative reality. Much of it is from a steady stream of negativity bombarding us from television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Situation comedies, for the most part, belittle people in the name of humor and many game and reality shows place people in embarrassing situations further undermining their self-image.

A while back, I was sitting outside a local restaurant writing while enjoying a quiet lunch. It was a beautiful day and the restaurant provided me with a view of the Delaware River, near where I live. Access to scenes like this is one of the many reasons I feel so blessed to be living the life that I am living and further proof, to me, of the power of creating a compelling vision for your life.

Where we live is the result of my wife and I becoming clear as to exactly what we wanted in our life, setting specific goals, visualizing our dream life as already complete, and taking regular action. I don’t just write about these principles, I live them daily and have for over two decades. And I’ve seen magnificent changes in my life as a result. Remember, we ask, God answers.

As I was sitting there totally enjoying the scenery, two women walked passed me on their way out of the restaurant, having finished their lunch. The women looked to be in their late 40’s or early 50’s although I avoid ever guessing women’s ages for obvious reasons.

As they passed, I overheard one of the women say, “When I was young . . .” Those words hit me like a lighting bolt, especially since I was working on my new book at the time.

What a disempowering choice of words. Your words have power, so choose them carefully. While you and I know that she meant no harm by her choice of that particular phrase, her mind took it in. What do you suppose the message to her subconscious mind was? Obviously, I’m not young any longer. I must be old!

A phrase that would have conveyed the same message but would have been more empowering would have been to say, “When I was younger . . .”

Without even realizing it, you’re programming your mind with disempowering, less than ideal, messages. Keep in mind that your subconscious believes everything that you tell it.

Think about the phrases that you use regularly to describe yourself or how you feel and make sure that they are sending a positive message to your subconscious mind. Avoid any phrase that is negative or dis-empowering.

As a matter of fact, by amplifying positive words like saying “great or terrific” instead of just “good or fine,” and minimizing negative ones, you can actually improve the way you feel.

Years ago, when I had the pleasure of meeting and briefly speaking with success legend, Zig Ziglar, I remember his reply to my question, “How are you?” Zig’s answer, “Better than great.”

What are you saying to yourself?

Jim Donovan is the author of several personal developments book and audio programs, including, Don’t Let An Old Person Move Into Your Body. For a complimentary copy of his “Yes You Can” audio, visit

82 thoughts on “Your Words Have Power”

  1. Lisa, I thank you too.
    I enjoy living life knowing that there are simarly minded people all around us.
    God bless you and Vic
    I hope one day our families get to meet each other.

  2. Wow, what a timely message. My husband and I were speaking of this just this morning.
    Last week we went on vacation with my parents and sister. I had a horible time! I reflected at why and it all came down to negativity. No matter how much we tried, my Mom was so negative, as was my sister which led the whole camp at some points to just be dang stressful.

    Of course when we returned home my husband and I reflected and picked through the trip choosing the fond and happy memories to hold on to while evaluating what happened so that the hassel will never again be repeated.

    One thing that stood out most was those dumb irritating glory days talks. My family, my sister and mom, live life in the past. I seriously felt like I was in highschool again. GET IN THE NOW is what my husband and I kept saying.

    I had no idea how much that was an impact to me. No wonder we did not get along so well. Me, my husband and children are all bolting ahead with a live life today attitude and the rest of my family lived in the oh ya, today is nice but I remember when. EGADS.

    We have to cross the brige of getting together with my negative family soon, which I will continually learn to deal with. But at least now I can really see how those negative statments, words and feelings impact how one feels and reacts. It sure helps me to mind my words and listen to them rolling off my tounge. More importantly, I can listen to the negative statements my family makes, tune them out and know that I have reached the other side…………

  3. Thank you for shearing this with us. We are of a truth the product of our own confessions.

  4. Lou Webber,
    You are obviously a very strong soul that has a lot of experience under your belt. I ask you whether the thoughts you had whilst affected by Alzheimer’s, were they only of a negative nature or were some positive.
    The reason I ask this is, that my beautiful caring wife of whom is an Architect mostly works in the redevelopment of aged care facilities and or the design of new establishments for the aged. I am constantly amazed at the science behind what is going into the planning behind some of these places and it would seem that the likes of positive mental stimulation and environmental surroundings play a very large part in individual’s treatment and recovery.
    It is all too easy to look back upon the historical nature of such institutions to realise that whilst providing the patient with the minimal care required, that they did not provide a source of positive stimulation that was required to ensure the well being of such clients. As a true advocate of positive thinking I can only imagine that the more positive stimulation an individual gets the better they are.

    In my limited understanding of Alzheimer’s and all the misunderstood media hype about it, it seems to be a psychological disorder that affects the brain due to a number of different reasons, the largest of which is the negative spiral of the human mind. It is in recent belief by the likes of some doctor’s and aged care providers that the more stimulating the environment is (with all due respect to the client) the better the patient will be, and the chances of making a full recovery are much greater.
    As a person who has been there and made the recovery, would you agree with this understanding?

    Best regards

  5. i’v always been told so by a friend “there is power in your words” but i guess i have also always had these sceptism in my heart that when i think big i also think to myself “what if i dont get there”.

    coming to think of it, i’v tot BIG and still achieved much of it. henceforth, i’ll always think and speak positively.

    thanks for the encouragement

  6. What we say to other people is very, very, important, BUT What we say to ourselves is more, more, more important…

  7. Thanks for this profound article. It is just not a fact but the truth. Biblically, it is written, “Life and Death are in the power of tongue” or simply put, whichever of this two we experience is simply the product of our spoken words.

  8. I am in the process of learning about my subconcious mind. This article is provides golden information to program my mind in a better way. Thanks Vic.

  9. Certainly Great!

    The power of subconscious mind is tremendous, Our words provide direction to brain, hence one will have to be careful about words that we say


  10. Dear friend, Your piece made wonderful reading providing intense inspiration for positive thinking, contended life and very calm, balanced mind with the fragrance of beautiful and compassionate thoughts. Look forward to more interesting and insightful pieces from your great, sagacious mind for the sustenance of faith, hope and love in every reader (me included). Many,many thanks.

  11. That is true and simple. Movement determines the form. It is a matter of form and content. What we sow is what we reap(ETERNAL LAW). We sow in Words, Thoughts and Actions.

  12. Very true and very right. I think more pople need to see this. It would make a difference in their lives.

  13. Well, it is so true!! We constantly bombard ourselfs with self-talk, so much so that we see it as a miracle if we can stop our thoughts for just 15 seconds!! Amazing what we do to our spiritual wellbeing. This message is a great awakener for us to learn to be in charge of our thoughts.
    Thank you

  14. Great! We can make a habit of speaking positive words by consciously & slowly transforming our selves. some says I will die young. I say I be young for ever.

  15. ….thanks for a powerful passage!!!
    i hope everyone could have the chance to read it…
    it was really encouraging! We must always think positive!
    God bless everyone!

  16. To: Petepc

    Thank you for your question. You can be certain you stimulated a positive reaction in my mind. I will thoughtfully consider your question this evening, and will reply tomorrow morning.

    (I will also congratulate myself more than once for having said something that you responded to positively.)

    Lou Webber

  17. Thank you very much for these insights, we continually darken our subconcious, with the dark words we speak to ourselves, we most of the times allow our environment to control most of the words we say to ourselves….the lesson I have gotten out of this is terrific!

  18. To Petepc

    Many people joke about, “not leaving this room until I find out why I came here.” My memory jokes ended abruptly when, as I zipped up my pants, I said to my friend, “I wonder if I went.” (And realized it was true.) I totally did not remember.

    I was already very sensitive about being unable to remember my golf strokes. And, forgetting the names of my fellow golfers (or even who they were) when I joined them for lunch after spending four hours with them in a golf foursome.

    Googling did not help. I learned that I have several of the Ten Most Prominent Symptoms of Alzheimers. A few of Alzheimer symptoms were considered to be perhaps a mite reversible. Not encouraging. What could I do?

    I had solved some difficult problems during my 34 years as a pilot in the Air Force during the years 1939 -1973. I retired as a Colonel in Hawaii in 1973 and became the successful Director of Marketing of 24 distressed condominium projects with thousands of unsellable units. My first thought was to examine the basis of the mental problem that had been named after Doctor Alzheimer to determine whether the solution might also be mental.

    “DENIAL” became my thesis. I refuse to accept any thought or behavior that suggests acceptance of an inadequate memory. (I banished Postit notes, but left the empty Postit dispenser on my desk as a reminder that memory notes are not needed.) If my mind could not present a memory that was needed I would insist it was available in my mind and that my mind get to work and find it.

    I felt a positive surge of pride, satisfaction, and relief when my mind did as bidden and hastened to exhibit its first success. By the way I am in charge of my mind and my body, but I am not alone. I am the boss. I am served by two powerful mentalities. One is Positive the other Negative. If I do not constantly monitor their actions they will often look for an easy solution without seeming to care about possible consequences. In the Alzheimers case they have discovered they can avoid difficult work by offering a joke, or a casual dismissal of a needed thought, or some inadequate habit, in order to avoid a difficult task, of which there are many more now than ever in history.

    Incidentally I effortlessly remembered my eighteen holes of golf strokes at our Country Club yesterday.

    I need to clarify my previous statement that I cured my Alzheimers. That was a bit strong. I felt the need to shock the readers to get their attention. I have definitely cured my Alzheimers to an important degree. I probably would have been closer to the mark had I said, “Alzheimers has become curable to some degree. But, I refused to weaken my statement for fear it would be interpreted to merely have been a small reversible movement mentioned vaguely in Google as being possible.

    I see Alzheimers as simply the product of overwhelming excess throughout our globe. I include population growth (to 7 billion) and a plethora of electronic and mechanical junk we happily did without until now, which have become toys of necessity, and psychological and financial disorder to adults and youngsters alike.

    To cap the whole Alzheimer problem we must add the power of habits to the power of words. Every time someone refuses to leave the room until they find out why they came there they help convert “jokers” into a downward spiral that becomes Alzheimers. We are developing Alzheimer HABITS by repeating them as though we are just being forgetful.

    Now, having somewhat revealed myself I shall attempt to reply to the question posed by Petepc

    Dear Petepc

    I respect your thoughtful analysis of the Alzheimer situation, and your search for ways to alleviate that growing scourge. I have come to believe we are accidentally programmed to live and to die according to thoughtless patterns of insignificance. Consider for example the time one becomes eligible for Social Security. Does that not notify all concerned that they are now officially “old?” The gratis appellation of Senior becomes more than intended. It can give you a ten percent discount at many restaurants, and help with any heavy items such as suitcases, or golf bags.

    I have studied and restudied your note regarding the negative spiral of the human mind. I applaud your pursuit of knowledge regarding the possible defense measure of stimulating the environment.

    I have no factual knowledge in that regard. Intuitively I believe I share your apparent proposition that Alzheimers may be benefited by the nature and quality of the patients environment. However, my exposure has dealt exclusively with the mental spiral downward which I interpret as the formation of escape mechanisms by adopting a laissez faire approach, which pretends there to be only simple forgetfulness and of no real importance, while disregarding the reality of the negative spiral.

    I suggest that if it is feasible to do so you encourage your Architect wife to share your views and devise a means of confirming or denying the natural assumption that a stimulating environment would enhance/possibly reverse a downward spiral. It may be useful to seek information regarding Alzheimer presence in divergent geographic areas. Could it be that, for instance, the Hawaiian Islands are free of Alzheimers while it is prevalent in Alaska.

    Best regards.
    Lou Webber

  19. To: Petepc
    I belatedly realized I had failed to incude part of my note to you that I considered to be important.

    It was my compliments to my mind when it changed from negative to positive. In the course of my conversation with myself I am careful to be complimentary and encouraging rather then negative and discouraging. It is so easy to put down an incident as unimportant, when in fact it increases the downward spiral. I actually feel a positive response when I do not criticize myself and instead administer a proud pat on the back. I recommend everyone try it. You will be encouraged to do it again.


  20. To Peterpc
    I started experiencing the law of attraction after reading the book
    ‘The Secret’ and deliberatly feeding the mind with positive thoughts.
    This statement seems to be in continous with the Book


  21. That has been an inspiring and motivating article.Its true Words have Power in them.It has realy changed my thinking and as from now whenever a negative sef-talk come into my mind, i will train myself to automatically infuse a positive Word or phrase to0 cancel it out.

    You have been a blessing to Many.

    Thanks again N may GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!

  22. To Lou Webber,
    Thank you for responding to my message and sharing with us all your situation and thoughts. I am so happy that you have a positive feeling from having posted your views in this forum and that other people are being inspired by Yours’ and my communication with each other.
    I will endeavour in my search for a greater understanding regarding the affects of the surrounding environment and the recovery of not only Alzheimer’s patients but all patients that will benefit from positive surroundings, stimulation, thoughts, attention and positive self propagation. I truly believe positive thought is the key to life.

    In your second message to me, you spoke of the affects of your positive comments to yourself “It was my compliments to my mind when it changed from negative to positive.” This is so true for all people; it is like credit and interest in banking terms. The more positive thoughts you harvest the more self empowered you are, the more negative thoughts you digest the worse you feel. Simply put as I term it “positive progression” and “ negative regression” Take the affects of a great summers day enjoying the beauty of one’s own favourite past time, compared to the feeling that you may have during the middle of winter when you are bed ridden with influencer or such symptoms. It is only natural to feel Highs and Lows during such times, the same as it is to feel this way with everyday life as you progress through it, unfortunately there is no simple cure for it, it requires acceptance of the situation and positive action to resolve it, by not paying attention to it, or taking and excepting suppressants to ease the pain you do not cure the problem.
    I wish you the best of luck with your life and hope we keep our contact together, it will not only benefit you and I, but so many other people who around us.

    Stay positive always.
    Kind regards

  23. Thank you for sharing. Here are some more suggestions when someone ask you “How are you?”

    “Better thank great.”
    “I’m on top of the world.”
    “I’m Excellent!”
    “I’m swell!”

    Also, there is a free red prayer book by Christian WORD Ministires that contains some “I am” affirmations. I declare and decree at least 20 of these affirmations into my life everyday, and my life has been “better than great!”

  24. Hi Vic!
    I would like to thank you and recommend you for the “greatest” work you are involved in; ‘saving humanity’ as I call it. This is because you are disclosing great things which needs to be known by humanity. Personally, i have come to know alot from alot of people who have brought known to me , like the great Bob Proctor and others, ans since knowing such people, Im not the same.
    They say ‘what you don’t know will hurt you’. I used to be hurt by alot of things i did’t know, but i no longer get hurt because of the knowledge i get from you. Please, keep on the wounderful work.
    God bless you

  25. Great post. I think everyone struggles with unkind thoughts about themselves. It often happens when we begin to compare ourselves to others, but inevitably we compare our worst selves, to their very best selves. Because we usually only show the rest of the world the best of ourselves so it’s hard to accurately compare oneself to another. Boy, that was a long rambling sentence… I hope it made sense.

    Also, it is important to look on the bright side… kind of monty python-ish “Always look on the bright side of life”. But seriously, I ask my kids everyday what the best part of their day was which helps them focus their attention on all the good things that happen. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves, ask ourselves what the best part of our personality is.. and then build on it. Might sound over simplified, but it works for me.

  26. “self-talk” and “when I was young…” – both pretty valuable phrases for me to bear in mind.
    I work as a motivational speaker ( but I often feel nervous about what I may be able to add in terms of personal growth. I suppose the key thing is to do what you’re passionate about, and do it with all your heart and soul, and with the optimism and confidence of a child?

Comments are closed.