The Power of Words: Transform Your Vocabulary, Transform Your Life!

Anthony Robbins 12-17

Words have incredible power in our lives. For one, they provide us with a vehicle for expressing and sharing our experiences with others. Most of us don’t realize, however, that the words you habitually choose also affect what you experience. Transformational Vocabulary is about how you can take control of your habitual vocabulary to change the quality of your life. Simply by changing your habitual vocabulary—the words you consistently use to describe the emotions of your life—you can instantly change how you think, feel and how you live.

Belief dictionary illustration

What’s interesting is how two people can experience the exact same sensations differently in their bodies by virtue of the labels they put on the experience. For example, one person may feel “frustrated” while the other just feels “a little confused.” It amounts to a huge difference in the way we feel, and when we change the way we feel, we change the way we behave.

Consider this example: In a business meeting with two partners, the same event triggered a dramatically different response in each person. The CEO went into an absolute rage, whereas the second partner seemed to have no reaction at all.

The enraged CEO believed that “rage” made him stronger and enabled him to deal with the situation. Rage was his way out of pain. Conversely, the partner who felt only “mildly annoyed” was acting on a belief that getting too upset would make him lose control of the situation, and that would mean too much pain. He wasn’t disassociating; he honestly was not feeling the intense anger.

This is the essence of Transformational Vocabulary: the words that we attach to our experience become our experience, regardless of whether it’s objectively accurate or not.

Therefore, if we want to change our lives and our destiny, we need to consciously choose the words we use to describe our emotional states. What would happen if, the next time you were in a situation that used to make you feel angry, instead you felt annoyed? Or if you used a word like “peeved” instead of “enraged” to describe your experience? Maybe instead of feeling “worried,” what if you used the words, “I’m a little concerned,” or “I need some clarification”?

Conversely, if someone asks you how you’re doing, think of the difference between responses like “Oh, I’m okay, I guess” and “I’m feeling on top of the world!” The labels we put on our experience become our experience. Choose your words wisely.

How Many Words in Our Language? How Many Do You Use?

According to Compton’s Encyclopedia, the total number of words in the English language is around 750,000. Of that number, guess how many words we habitually use: 500 to 2,000 at the most, which represents only one half of one percent of the language. In Roget’s Thesaurus there are more than 3,000 words describing various emotions. Of those, there were 1,051 words for positive emotions and 2,286 for negative emotions; roughly twice as many negative words as positive words! Think of the implications.


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