I include this in the categories of Divorce and Separation because we get to decide the outcome of many of our relationships just by orienting ourselves in the right direction.
One of the things I have always liked about mathematics and physics is that complex concepts can often be explained in simple terms. One of the things I have always liked about English is that the choice of words can convey subtleties even while explaining simple concepts. Touching or sardonic, dry or funny, callous or mellow…the mood of prose pivots on a few key words.
But, back to simple concepts since the topic today isn’t the richness of our language.
The following mantra is something I repeat to my girls frequently, and so I only need to repeat it a hundred more times before it sinks in (note the dry humor!):
If you want something to fail, you only have to say that it can’t be done.
If you say it will succeed, you have a chance of succeeding.
My point is already made, but since I enjoy words I’m going to blather on a little more anyway…
Sometimes one of my daughters will tell me she’s not going to do well in her audition to move up a ‘chair’ in Band (1st chair being the most prestigious), or that her homework is too hard to complete, or that her budding relationship is doomed, or that there’s no point trying to fix things after a silly row with another sister or friend. In every case, she’s right. Because she said so.
Sometimes one of them comes to me with complete confidence that she’s going to do better in her audition than ever before, that she’s going to finish her homework soon so we can all watch The Big Bang Theory together, that the tall boy seems very friendly for some reason, or that she wishes she hadn’t said something silly to her sister or friend. In each case, she gives her desire for success wings. She doesn’t always succeed because Life isn’t a fairy tale nor is it a romantic comedy movie. The girls do, however, take an outcome from almost certain failure and create a chance for success when they use positive
This small idea applies to our relationships too. Tell your husband or wife that it’s not working and you’ve probably done immediate harm to your relationship. Tell him or her that you’d like to talk about ways to improve your relationship and the alternate approach is more likely to succeed. The same principle applies to negotiations, sports, sales, etc. — the list goes on. Yet it’s still common to find that someone is willing to be unequivocal about future failure. The voice of experience…or self-fulfilling prophecy? It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.