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Don't waste life in doubts and fears. ( Emerson )

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Morality is the custom of one's country ;cannibalism is moral in a cannibal country. (Samuel Brttler, British writer)

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This also applies to ourselves and I can't remember where I read this but there is a study that gives evidence to the fact. The biggest example of this is when someone askes how you are and you reply with something like "not too bad". Our brains only think the "too bad" and we end up feeling worse.

Terrific Tom

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the peacemakers for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."
"I am the light of the world."
"I am the good shepherd."
"I am the door."

There is a new movie out which isn't showing in my town yet but I saw the trailer. It's called "That's What I Am", starring Ed Harris as a teacher in 1965. In the previews he gets his 8th grade students to stand up and say, "I am a writer; that's what I am," and "I am a musician; that's what I am," and "I am a writer; that's what I am." Ed Harris says, "I am a teacher; that's what I am."

There is real, positive power and energy in the phrase, "I AM."


... “we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.”

If that were true then racial hatred would never have gained a foothold into the hearts and minds of American citizens, in the first place. Right?


Ah, how true. It is hard to get this point across because many people feel the need to provide a contrast effect. This is especially true in writing where it has become common to find the "not only did we do x but we also did y" sentence structure. While grammatically correct it diminishes the impact of Y and the chances that Y will be remembered.


Brilliant concept, beautifully explained. I became familiar with it in bringing up my son: you NEVER say "don't cross the road on your own because you won't look where you're going", you rephrase it by saying "when you cross the road, take really good care and watch the traffic carefully". It's all about turning negatives into positives so we respond better, isn't it?


For many years I have believed your brain doesn't hear the 'not'. My example: Many years ago I was given a due date of December 29 for the birth of my child. From the time I was given the date - knowing my first child was born early - I told myself, not Christmas Day, not Christmas Day. As you can imagine, my child was born early in the morning of December 25. I had programmed my body to deliver on that day by repeatedly communicating from the negative of 'not'.....

Nate Bagley

Well said. What you say is almost as important as how you say it. It's amazing how positive words inspire, while negative words do the opposite, where the root meaning can be almost identical.

I'm definitely going to be more aware of how I communicate, and whether I'm inspiring others or not.


Very interesting post. I just had to comment and say, that your "rewritten" speech at the bottom certainly achieves your goals. It's more positive, more powerful, and much more inspiring. I found myself thinking, "Man I wish Denis McDonough had actually said that instead."


Simon thank you for inspring us every day with your ideas!

Monk51295 Thank you for posting Bill Strckland's wonderful talk!


Excellent post!

Mariano Viloria

Great Post!



nice Simon.

i recently revisited Bill Strickland's TED:; http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_strickland_makes_change_with_a_slide_show.html
well worth the 35 min as he, like you, reminds us to look like the solution not the problem.


This device is also used proactively. Example, "We are not going to talk about whether the administration is handling the Libyan crisis correctly, we are going to talk about the effects on energy," or "some say that Obama is a Muslim, but we don't think so."
It is really hard to unring a bell.


Great posting. Thanks..!


This is very true. A good read to start the week with.

I am a salesman and this is a good practical tool that I will use in my daily work, so that I can inspire my future customers to share my ideas and my vision.

(See, I didn't say "I am not going to talk in negative terms" nor did I say "I am not going to use the words "don't, aren't etc."

Well written Simon, it's stuck already!

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