We know words are important — it’s pretty obvious that they’re a primary form of communication and used to express thoughts, ideas, insights and emotions. But while a lot of people recognize their importance, far too many don’t realize just how powerful they are.

The power of words extends well beyond simple expression. The words you choose have the capacity to completely direct and change the course of your life. The words you use day in and day out — your habitual vocabulary — whether you say them aloud or in your mind, are what decide your dreams, successes and your ability to bounce back after setbacks.

Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have any control over the way we feel, and that our feelings have been decided by our circumstances. If someone surprises you with a thoughtful gift, you’re happy. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you’re angry.

Fortunately, it’s not that simple. The way we feel in any given situation is actually a choice. And, it’s a choice that’s dictated by the words we use to describe our experiences.

Think about the last person who cut you off in traffic. If you think, “that person pissed me off,” then feelings of anger, resentment and frustration will bubble up inside you. On the other hand, what if you changed that statement? What if, instead of deciding that the person pissed you off, you instead chose to think, “that person is so silly”?

It might sound overly simplistic and even a bit ridiculous at first, but once you try implementing this change, you’ll see just how powerful it is.

The benefits of choosing your words versus letting them choose you extend beyond what you can imagine. Think about it this way: When you’re in traffic and someone cuts you off, the words you choose to label the situation will decide whether you shrug it off or let anger get the best of you. The latter reaction causes an increase in blood pressure and your stress levels while negatively impacting your physical, mental and emotional health.

The words you attach to any experience become your experience. For instance, when you tell yourself you’re devastated, you will become devastated as the biological responses associated with devastation kick in. We’ve all been there and have felt this way at one point or another — it’s that pit in your stomach, doubt in your capabilities and hopelessness about the situation at hand.

But you can cut off those feelings of despair even before they take over your mind and become your reality by checking in with yourself the moment you feel those self-sabotaging thoughts creep in. Ask yourself, are you truly devastated, or is that the word your brain habitually reached for in the moment? It’s nearly always the latter.

This is why, during the firewalk at Unleash the Power Within, Tony has all firewalkers chant the word “YES!” before crossing the coals. This exercise transforms feelings of fear and the thoughts of “I can’t” into a sense of empowerment and forward momentum.

Walking across hot coals goes beyond an exercise for changing thought patterns and bestowing empowerment, it’s a life-changing experience and a tool that you can add to your “life” toolbox and call upon whenever you need. Post-firewalk, you’ll question your previous thoughts as the exercise is intended to make you challenge your views, thoughts and perceptions. Rather than thinking how afraid you were, you can practice thinking about how empowered and driven you felt to take on something you initially thought was impossible.

And, the beauty of this whole idea regarding the power of words is that you don’t have to believe that it works; all you have to do is try it. It’s free and easy, and can be practiced in nearly any situation that comes your way. After trying it just a few times, you’ll become keenly aware of the true power of your words to transform your life.

Interested in learning more about how firewalking at Unleash the Power Within can improve your life? Click here to learn more and to find out when you can attend the next upcoming event.

Image credit © AntonioGuillem/Bigstock

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