Thursday, June 02, 2011

Proactive and Reactive Language ... what's your style?

I'm currently reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.
This book is really amazing and with every word I find myself having little 'aaa ha' moments. As I was reading his segment about listening to our language (page 78), I couldn't help but think about the day the construction crew showed up at my house to install all the new windows.

Our old house (that we have been fixing up for over a year now) was built in 1944 and the windows had never been replaced. I can't begin to explain in words how excited I was about getting new windows. They truly transformed the place! And the view was significantly better with the new, clean glass.

Now back to Covey's book ... In this particular segment I'm reading he talks about the importance of listening to the language we use. There are two types of language patterns. The first is Reactive Language (this is the type used by people who often use excuses and choose not to claim responsibility for their choices). Some reactive phrases are: There's nothing I can do. That's just the way I am. He makes me so mad. They won't allow that. I have to do that. I can't. I must. If only.

The second type of language is Proactive Language... (this is a more empowering language used by people committed to being responsible for their choices and actions). Some phrases are: Let's look at our alternatives. I can choose a different approach. I control my own feelings. I can create an effective presentation. I choose. I prefer. I will.

Back to the windows - we choose how the world looks and how our lives will be. It's all about what we choose to focus on and ultimately do. And we choose what type of 'windows' we'll look at the world through. Our thoughts and language (empowering or not) determine our actions and the way things appear and end up.

This week - pay attention to the phrases you use and the thoughts you entertain.
Is it possible that you could use a new set of windows to see the world from?

If so - choose words and actions that will help you SEE with more clarity and positive purpose.

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