Why words – especially labels – have power

Fun fact: I’m not a doctor – medical or otherwise.

My training has been world-class… and it’s ongoing. And I’m extremely experienced.

I innovate, too. I’ve seen similar techniques to my Ziggurat technique for busting anxiety, but nothing as simple and thorough as it.

Plus, apparently a PhD thesis for Cambridge can’t exceed 80,000 words. I write more than twice that every year.

(What do you mean, my style isn’t ‘academic enough’?)

So I meet plenty of the requirements for a PhD. I just didn’t meet them in any academic context.

So, yeah – not a doctor.

And I’m not too broken up about that. I would enjoy calling myself Dr William Batten as a gimmick or for the prestige. But that’s an expensive toy to collect.

Having said that…

If I were to introduce myself that way – not that I would, for obvious ethical reasons – it would change me.

I’d probably use a bigger vocabulary.

And I’d stand by my opinions more. Or maybe I’d use more qualifiers, like ‘according to the best research…’

Maybe I’d have full-blown personality changes. I wouldn’t put it past me to suddenly become snooty with my tastes, appreciating only the most expensive of wines…

All this from just two letters – not the work required to earn them, just the letters – that, intellectually, I don’t even want.

Labels have power.

Even when the labels don’t mean anything.

Take 30 strangers and randomly give them each one of two nametags: RED and BLUE. Sit back and watch. Reds will be friendlier and more open with fellow reds than with blues… even though the labels are random and meaningless.

This is where a lot of psychology textbooks and papers end. “Labels matter, how curious!”

Let’s talk about how to use this quirk of our nature.

And let’s start by talking about how not to talk about it.

Many folks use rather unflattering terms to their friends, their children, themselves.

They call them slow or ugly or clumsy.

I’m sure it’s just a joke, haha…

But if you think using a label like this isn’t hypnosis… then you don’t know hypnosis.

Repeat it and it’ll take root in the unconscious – even if, intellectually, they know otherwise.

Even using it one-off might cause them harm. It probably won’t, but it could.

So forget all that and think about the words that make you feel all glowy inside.

If your obituary just had a single word in it, what’s the best possible obituary you could have?

‘Hero’?

What about ‘genius’ or ‘saviour’?

Your unconscious takes labels as instructions, so only use the most helpful ones.

By itself, this is pretty mild hypnosis. Even so, it can do a lot – either good or bad – given enough time. Use your words with more care and everything around you will slowly shift.

A lot of unnecessary pain in adults comes from something they heard as a child.

A teacher, parent, sibling or friend called them something… and it stuck.

If this never happened, there’d be much less need for my services.

Oh well. You can blame everyone else for your struggles… or you can take responsibility for them and clean them out here:

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