Self Improvement – Do You Agree That Words Make A Difference?

"The Great Gordino", "Gordon Bryan", "self improvement"Early 2013, and an item in the news had me thinking about a self improvement topic, and there is a decidedly Scottish twang to the words…

Here’s some background – the Scottish National Party (SNP) has long campaigned for Scotland to be an independent country from the rest of the United Kingdom. They always said that if they formed a government in Scotland they would hold a referendum on the issue.

So, when they did indeed win a majority in the devolved Scottish government, they set about pressing ahead with that referendum.

British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed that a referendum should go ahead in line with the wishes of the SNP that had been democratically elected. So, in 2014 the Scottish people will decide if 400 years of union should be turned over, seeing Scotland as independent.

I say ‘the Scottish people’ advisedly, because only people resident in Scotland will be able to vote. I happen to play a lot of curling, and see a lot of Scots playing with me
at the rink in the South East of England. They won’t be able to vote though, whereas if I lived in Scotland, as an Englishman I would be allowed to vote.

That’s a different issue though – in this article I wanted to focus not on *who* will be asked, but *what* they will be asked.

Here’s what the SNP originally wanted the question to be –
“Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

Well, the electoral commission, who will be in charge of running the referendum, acted on complaints that it was a leading question. After testing, they agreed that it was, the psychology being that people were less likely to disagree with a ‘do you agree’ statement.

They suggested the question should be –
“Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No,”

The commission said that this second question was far more neutral, far less leading. The SNP have agreed (I suspect they had little choice), and I would tend to agree also.

So, how does all this talk of question wording affect your self improvement..?

Well, I’ve written about self improvement for years, along with goal achievement and personal development. Some people ask me how I can keep coming up with content on the same subjects, and I do it by making the same points over and over, but using different words to do it.

I make no apology for it, because I believe passionately in what we can achieve in our lives by making what can sometimes be the smallest of changes.

Yes, I use different current or historical events to hang the points on, but the points are the same – it’s the words that I change.

One word might do nothing for you, but a different word making the same point might hit home. Can you see what I’m saying? Can you hear what I’m saying? There, I just did it, and if you perceive things more visually or aurally, you might absorb one version of the question more readily than the other.

I do enjoy throwing words around, and I particularly enjoy the prospect of something I write having an impact on someone who might have been left cold by my previous content.

It’s a long held belief of mine that our surroundings are consequences of our actions.
Changing the actions can change those consequences for the better, and to help change the actions we need to change our attitude. Our attitude is changed by our thoughts, and are thoughts are made up of…words.

I can’t comment on your personal circumstances or goals as you read this, because I don’t know them. You can though.

Think to your desires and ambitions. Think of the words you use when you talk to yourself – think to the Scottish referendum, and ask yourself if you are constantly leading yourself to negative conclusions, when a change in the words could lead to a totally different perception?

Ok, let me know what you think – leave a comment below, and feel free to share, like etc.

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget you can grab my motivational book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’ at rock bottom kindle pricing!

Do leave a comment!

Leave a Comment


    • This indeed touches on the point I make Roy – that so many people are influenced by words chosen by others, yet they fail to realise the impact their *own* words can have on their own potential. The ability to choose different words can make a monumental difference, it just needs the awareness to do it!

  • Words transform everything! They can cut and hurt, they can inspire. And, they mean so many different things to so many people. When was the last time someone said to you “Don’t take it so literally or personally?” Interesting take adding the Scotland example 🙂

    • Hi Laura,
      Yes, that Scotland example yelled for me to write an article when I saw it on the news. It’s a process which may have a big impact on our country, and is a great illustration of the power of words – if only more people used it on themselves!

  • Hi Gord,

    Word usage makes a world of difference. I live in Canada, which over the years has become a melting pot of different nationalities and culture.

    When I was working on my PhD a Russian doctor joined us. Although she spoke English her language was intertwined with literal translations from Russian. She was very giving and one day she brought us some food. She wanted us to taste it. She kept insisting that we MUST try it.

    Some of the other students were of Engish descent and after the break they were rumbling about Anna being rude and pushy. They were quite offended.

    Anna, used the word “must”, which in Russian is quite different than “must” in English. Anna was imploring not ordering. The sad thing that Anna by the single misuse of a word became labeled as rude, demanding and never really liked.

    So, yes a single word may make a huge difference.

    Take care,


    • I’d hate to try English as a foreign language – it’s just plain odd in so many ways, and it’s the small nuances that catch non English speakers out, with your example being a great illustration. With non native speakers, I will *always* give the benefit of the doubt, on the basis that their grasp of my language is so much better than my grasp of theirs!

      What I find frustrating and glorious in probably equal measure though, is how those same meaning twists can be used by native English speakers – a powerful tool which can certainly be used in the self improvement arena.

      Thanks for the great example!
      Cheers, Gordon

  • Hi Gordon,

    I love reading your articles you share deep thinking and profound ideas. I agree that the results we see in our lives are created by our thoughts. In a sense whatever we have in our life is what we want I think we give other people way too much credit for how our lives turn out.

    Rock on,


    • Hi Elisa,
      Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate it!
      We most certainly are responsible for our surroundings – way more than most people realise.
      I do try and improve people’s realisation, because I know how much it impacted my life when I found out, and then set out to make active changes.

  • I agree that words make a world of difference and they must be the right words.

    Although not to do with goals, one thing I have learned in internet marketing is that you have to use the words that people in your niche use if you want to communicate with them.

    It’s no good using technical jargon when your niche uses completely different words. For example on my detox blog I talk about “detoxing” instead of the proper term “detoxifying” because that is the word that people commonly use.


    • Hi Sandy,
      yes, you make a good point there about turning people off with words.
      It’s a balancing act in my view, because in some cases, and this applies to me, you want to steer readers in a different and possibly new direction – but we musn’t lose the connection with readers by the wrong words.
      Thanks for the point!
      Cheers, Gordon

  • What a great post, and I really enjoyed learning a little history of your part of the world. Words make an enormous difference, and as a mother I have to constantly stop myself from berating myself, because I’ve seen my daughter parrot what I say about myself, only about herself. Thanks for this great reminder, GGord!

    • Hi Amy,
      When James became King James 1st of England, he was also King of Scotland at the time, so it was him that created the United Kingdom, 400 years ago. It was also him that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up on Nov 5th (a bit more Brit history for you!)
      Having not had any kids, I hadn’t thought of words passed down to them, but of course I was, and still can be, influenced by the words of my parents. It’s a great example you give there, and if we are so influenced by our parents, think how much *more* we can be influenced by the words of someone we listen to all the time – ourselves!
      Thanks as ever, Gordon

  • Hey GG,

    another terrific post and an important point indeed. There have certainly been many instances in my life when I could have chosen better words – that’s for sure.

    With your post and the comments following, it makes me wonder how much of a certain book beginning with “The B” could be believable after almost 2000 years (damn – I gave it away!) and which has been translated from it’s origins in classical Greek if I’m not mistaken, to Latin and then the rest of the world’s languages, with their nuances at any one time, let alone over centuries.

    Hmmm… a point to ponder on.

    All the best GG,

    • Hi Paul,
      I’ve also experienced the difference in results when I’ve chosen to use different words when talking to myself.
      Actually your point about the bible is a great example. Different translations have given different intepretations, leading to huge arguments about actual meaning amongst people that read it.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • I’d like to think that each person’s good actions will influence the planet as a whole. I’ve long believed in positive thoughts being real things that can be measured in the air.

    • Hi Francene,
      I do believe in the ripple effect of positive actions and thoughts, and in the ripple effect of positive words!