We all are well aware of the power of optimism and positive thought. It is a personality trait associated with many of the greatest business leaders of our time.

Recently, in fact, in the Gates Foundation Annual Letter, Melinda Gates called out Warren Buffet saying that "optimism is a huge asset" and that Buffet's "success didn't create (his) optimism, but that (his) optimism led to (his) success."

Beyond anecdotes, science also offers evidence of optimism's power. According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, co-authors of the book, Words Can Change Your Brain, "a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress" and can kickstart the brain's motivational centers.

So if positive words are so important, why do we continue to use negative words every day? Specifically, why do we continue to label things we need to do as "to-dos" or "tasks," when by definition --

a: a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time
b: something hard or unpleasant that has to be done

We all have things we need to do every day, but in the process of doing them, if they feel like difficult obstacles in our way of doing important things, then we need to change our perspective.

Instead, swap the term "task" with a term that better describes what they really are -- "actions."

As opposed to tasks, actions are things we do every day that help deliver us to the goals we have set for ourselves. Again, by definition:

a : a thing done.
b : the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time.

This may seem trivial to some, but I challenge you to try this exercise during the week. Set and review daily, weekly and longer-term goals, then outline your "action list" for the day. Understand that these actions are meant to get you to the next action, then to the next, and so forth, as you inch you way toward reaching these goals.

Lastly, take time to reflect each evening on what it felt like to take actions meant to improve your life. Give yourself credit for taking these actions and allow yourself the self gratitude of achievement.

These may be just words, but over time, you will find that these words will matter.

What do you think? Do words matter? Share your insights and thoughts in the comments below.

Published on: Sep 5, 2017