I’ve been taken for granted before. Not just once but multiple times. And I’m not just talking about getting into a relationship, this also extends to my career and other social groups I wanted to be a part of. We’ve all been there in some way, shape or form. Yes it’s painful. But that pain showed a part of me I never would’ve noticed…
Looking back, I admired my determination to go out of my way, to show how much I cared for others (regardless if they cared or not). But that feeling of admiration slowly turned into sadness. It made me realize how much I’ve taken myself for granted. I asked myself…
“If I was willing to do all those things for other people, how come I couldn’t do all those things for myself?”
That question made me realize my ability to take bold actions for others. And if that was the case, it means I’m also capable of taking bold actions for myself. Working towards achieving my goals in life should be my number one focus. But in order to achieve my goals, first I need to learn how to take action. Back then I didn’t know where to start. I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know exactly how to get there. That problem brought me to my consumption of personal development books.
I came across Anthony Robbin’s Unleash The Power Within. I learned that the quality of our communication directly affects the quality of our lives. That was a little too deep for me to understand when I first heard it. But after a while, I understood how this made sense. I noticed a pattern in my thought process whenever I set myself out to do something. I would typically ask myself these questions to justify whether or not I should be doing what I’m doing:
“Do I have to do this…?”
“Do I need to do this…?”
“Do I want to do this…?”
The answers I have for those questions greatly affect whether or not an action, a task or a goal gets accomplished.
“I HAVE to do this…”
Every time I tell myself “I have to…” I feel like I’m forcing myself to take action. Deep inside, I know there are other options I would much prefer to do. And so I end up finding as many excuses as I can to avoid taking action. My brain does not support doing things against its will. It prefers to do things that are less painful or more enjoyable (than the action I’m about to take).
“I NEED to do this…”
Ok so when it’s a need, it’s a NEED. I don’t really have much choice but to do it. Although saying this statement may get me to take action, I still fail to follow through my goals. Why? It is mentally exhausting to keep forcing my brain to do something it doesn’t enjoy doing.
“I WANT to do this…”
My brain knows there is pleasure in doing the things I want. It clears out the ‘internal resistance’ that stops me from taking action. And so, whenever I add the word “want” in my thought process (before taking action), I noticed I had a higher chance of getting stuff done. Having done this so many times, this subtle manipulation in my thought process became in-grained in my brain that I use it as my go to ‘mantra’.
Saying “I want to do this…” somehow gives me that extra dose of motivation I needed to get me to take action.
Exploring the Psychology Behind “I want to do this…”
Telling myself ‘I have to’, ‘I need to’ or ‘I want to’ is basically my way of exploiting the power of my internal communication.
Albert Mehrabian’s research shows that communication is composed of 7% words, 38% tone and 55% body language. Contrary to the widespread misinterpretation of the research, I found this to be pretty accurate in the context of internal communication.
Select the Right Words to Influence Your Thoughts
Words carry an ‘emotion’ or some sort of feeling that affects our thought process. Using the word ‘want’ somehow increases my chances of taking action because it gives off a feeling of ‘need to take action’. This was probably driven by the number of successes I got whenever I use the word ‘want’ to push myself to accomplish a task.
The more I use the word to create a specific result, the more powerful it gets to produce that result. But every word affects us differently. Their effectiveness is directly driven by our past experiences, core beliefs and background. That said, an effective word for me may not be that effective for you.
“Plain, unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind. You will get no appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with thoughts, or spoken words which have been well emotionalized with belief” Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Adjust the Tone of Internal Voice to Change Your Mood
The power of my internal communication is also affected by the ‘feeling’ I attach to the message I communicate. By adjusting my internal voice to sound excited, depressed, mean or enthusiastic, I can either pump up or destroy my willpower. This is critical because the quality of my willpower reflects my ability to take action.
“The most powerful way to exercise better willpower in your life is simply to change the way you talk to yourself.” Mate, Tucker Max & Geoffrey Miller
Look and Act like You Mean It
Whenever I say “I want to…”, I increase the chances of aligning all my beliefs, ideas, values and everything else that affects my thought process. The quality of this alignment canmake my body language to either look like “I can’t do this…I’m a failure” OR “I’m ready! LET’S DO THIS!!”
I learned this from reading a book on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). It is known as Personal Congruence –the state where every part of you is in total alignment with what you’re doing at the moment.
“Congruence is total attention to what you’re doing now.” NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, Andreas & Faulkner
Internal Communication: A Tool to Create Motivation
I’m no scientist but experimenting with words delivered in the right tone of voice and body language helps me produce an extra dose of motivation to take action.
I care this much because (like you) even when I’m already happy with what I currently have, there is always an area in my life I wanted to improve. But none of that would be possible if I keep failing to take action…