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You'll change your life when you... Change your labels!

Posted 1/19/2019

Are you ready to change your life? If not, please pass this on to someone who is. If yes, great. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you think about your ability in different areas, what words do you use? When you consider the character traits you describe yourself with, what are they? When you think about the way you connect and communicate with people, how do you describe it? Now, the most important question; when you look at how you are, the life you lead and things you are achieving, how does it relate to the words you have used to to describe the different areas just I touched on? If the outcomes you’re getting are consistent with the labels you’re using, it may be time to change the labels

I was recently listening to a motivational speaker and teen mentor, named Skip, talk about an experience he had with a family he knew. It was a family of five; mum, dad and three boys, with the youngest one 10 years old. This young boy, as all the boys, had incredible potential and up until recent times had been easy going, doing well at school and in life. Over the previous couple of years, however, he was starting to struggle in school, his grades were dropping, his behavior was erratic, and he was starting to get into trouble at school, and, at home. Things were not good.

The family was obviously concerned, and asked Skip to come and help. When the young boy was at an after school detention, he had a conference with the rest of the family to see if he could get some answers before speaking to the boy himself. He asked questions to the family about what had been happening, if there had been some traumatic situations that may have affected the boy and if they had any ideas what the problem may be. They all looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and said that they couldn’t think of anything.

Skip then asked, if there was any way they were interacting with the young boy, or, anything they were saying to him that might be affecting his behavior. At that moment, the two older brothers started looking a little uneasy. They looked at each other, and the penny had dropped. They then said to Skip, ‘We may know why, but we didn’t mean it.’ Skip asked, ‘What is it, what didn’t you mean?’ They replied, ‘It was just a joke, we didn’t mean to hurt him, we are sorry.’ Skip, now really interested to find out what they had been saying, asked again, ‘I understand you didn’t mean it, What did you do?’ One of the brothers admitted, ‘We have been calling him dummy!’ Skip then asked, ‘Why would you call your brother dummy?’ They went on to explain, ‘It first happened when he was much younger, when he did something silly. It was just a joke and the nickname kinda stuck and we have been calling him that ever since. We didn’t mean to hurt him.’ Skip looked at the family and said, ‘Okay, now we know the problem. He thinks he is dumb. It’s the label he has about himself. We have to do something about it now, or it will affect his whole life.

You are who you think you are.

You see, when the young boy was much younger, he didn’t know what ‘dummy’ meant, so he, like his brothers, thought it was funny. As he grew older, started going to school, he started to understand what the word actually meant. He thought to himself, ‘If I’m dumb, then it’s not much point trying.’ The result was, he put less effort into school work, started misbehaving, got low grades, was reprimanded more often and his self-esteem started to slide. This had spiralled to the point when Skip became involved. He was absolutely heading towards a miserable existence, all because of a simple erroneous label he believed about himself.

The family got together and started to tell him, help him, teach him and affirm to him that he was talented, strong, resilient, resourceful and capable of achieving anything he wanted. With these new labels being reinforced and strengthened every day, he started to believe them, and with that, everything changed for him. His attitude improved, his effort improved, his behavior improved and consequently his results improved. This all happened many years ago, and this young boy has grown into a very successful man who is now making a positive difference in the lives of many, because he now passionately understands the impact of the label’s we place on ourselves and on other people.

The question, as always, is about you, your life and the labels you are placing on yourself, or, have had placed on you. Do you call or have you ever called yourself a ‘procrastinator’? Do you call or have you ever called yourself ‘lazy’? Do you call or have you ever called yourself ‘undisciplined’? Do you call or have you ever called yourself ‘stupid’? Do you believe you never finish things, you are easily distracted, you have no will-power, you don’t know enough, or you just don’t have what it takes? Are these the labels, or are there other labels, you are placing on yourself? If so, can I ask you this; how’s it working for you?

Are you ready for things to change? Do you want different outcomes? Are you prepared to turn things around? If you answered yes, then the solution is simple; change the limiting and negative labels you are currently pinning on yourself. You see, the difference between ‘procrastinate’ and ‘pro-active’ is a just decision and action. You can do that, right? So, just change the label and take action to reinforce it. The difference between ‘stupid’ and ‘intelligent’ is just a decision to learn and then a commitment to acting on it. We can all do that.  If, when people ask you how you are, you say ‘tired’, you will be tired, but, when you say you are feeling great, you will amazingly feel great. If you are ‘courageous’, you are more likely to show courage. If you are ‘efficient’, you are more likely to find effective ways to do things. If you are ‘confident’, you are more likely to speak up and try new things. Do you get what I’m saying?

I know, I know, it’s much easier to keep the negative labels and then use them to justify why you didn’t achieve what you wanted. But, honestly, is that what you want your life to look like? I’m sure, if you're reading this sentence in this blog, then it’s not. So, the simplest thing you can do is to change the way you look at yourself and the things you say to yourself. I said simple, not easy. To help, find people who will support and encourage you, find books to read that will inspire you and listen to audios and seminars that will empower you. Most of all, rip off any label that states something you don’t want, and change it for something you do. Your life will change the moment you change your labels.