Tag Archives: Words

Structure, Content, And Pajama Wearing Elephants

Would You Mind Passing The Guacamole?

Once I had to meet a friend of mine at the last minute to play a round of golf. I was at this party the week prior, and one of my buddies was talking about how he’d recently started playing, and we should play sometime together. He’d asked me if I wanted to play the following weekend, and I said “sure, why not.” The way he asked seemed to be more like a “we should play sometime” rather than getting his calendar out and actually filling in that morning.

I figured if we were going to play for real, he’d call me during the week to let me know what our t-time was. Little did that his idea of playing golf was just to show up at the course and wait for the first available slot. He didn’t mention any specific times, nor did he call me during the week to confirm, so I was surprised when he called me at 6:30 on Saturday morning, from the golf course, asking me where I was. I suppose you get much better luck just showing up on a Saturday if you show up at 6:30 in the morning. Silly me.

One of the interesting things about language that Seven Pinker points out in “The Stuff Of Thought,” is how we humans tend to cloak our intentions behind our language fairly often. If you were to look only at the surface structure of language, we’d have a lot of miscommunication. The example Pinker gives is when sitting at the table with friends or family, we rarely blurt out “Pass me the guacamole,” in it’s the pure imperative form of the word, even thought that’s exactly what we mean.

Even in something as simple as asking for the salt or pepper among close family or friends we shield our raw intentions through vague language. If somebody took the surface structure literally when we said, “Could you pass me the salt?” We would never get the salt.

It’s amazing that misfires in communication like in my golf story don’t happen more often. My friend assumed I knew that “Lets play golf next Saturday” meant it was not only a done deal, but also it meant to show up at the course at 6:30 A.M.

Often times when we communicate, we don’t even have an intention to shield. But we don’t want to give our freedom completely over to our friends, so we attempt test out their intentions and see if we like them, or we’d like to improve on them or not. This happens frequently in the familiar “I dunno, what do you want to do tonight?” Once I spent about two hours on a date (thankfully not a first, or it would have been the last) driving around going back and forth like that.

When two people that don’t have a plan come together, not much is going to get done. When people don’t have a plan, we tend to gravitate towards a feeling of ego protection, so we tend to not want to try new things. For most of us, in order to try something completely new, we’ve usually got to specifically plan to do so, or have somebody that knows what they’re doing take us along.

Once I had a boss that wasn’t quite at skilled at oblique communication (either that or it just didn’t matter much to her). I was working on a project, and wanted her input. I asked her advice, and she said, “I don’t know. Tell me what you think and I’ll let you know if it’s acceptable or not.” Thanks for the help, boss.

Many a vaudeville routine has been built up around miscommunication, or misunderstanding of what each other is saying, the most famous being the “Who’s On First” routine by Abbot and Costello. (Recently enjoying a surge in popularity due to the president of China being a guy named “Hu”). Many jokes are set up so that the first have is interpreted one way, and the punch line is based on a completely different interpretation. Couple examples:

Losing one parent is difficult. Losing both is just plain careless.

Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know.

Why did the guy keep a clock underneath his desk? He wanted to work over time.

Ok, I’ll stop.

One way to use vague language is in sales, seduction, and hypnosis. Most people are not completely aware of their criteria in these areas, what they want to buy, who they want to hook up with and how they want to solve their problems.

When you skillfully use vague language in such a way that the target of your words can fill in the blanks, even on a subconscious level, you can elicit some pretty powerful states and desires. If you’re in sales, you can elicit a strong pleasurable feeling of buying something really nice, without really getting into specifics of what that actually was. Most people would be hard pressed to describe in detail what it felt like when they bought something they really liked.

But when you artfully vague language, you can elicit those feelings, and attach them to any product you want. Likewise for seduction and therapeutic hypnosis.

If somebody comes to you with a bad habit they’d like to quit, you don’t have to specifically elicit how they got rid of other bad habits you can just elicit that resourceful state that everybody has experienced when they know they can overcome something. Everyone, through the simple fact of still being alive, has over come hundreds if not thousands of obstacles in their lives. All you need to do is elicit a few of those strategies, as well as a belief that it’s within that persons capabilities, and you can effectively transplant that strategy and self belief into their current habit they’d like to quit. All without really being specific about anything.

This entails using a lot of “structure language” rather than “content language.”

Content language:

This water has been filtered through .04-micron filters seventeen times, and then aged in walnut casks to give it a pH of 7.3, which has been shown to be the perfect pH for thirst quenching, according to the latest research. There we fully recommend “product name” water for all your drinking needs.

Structure language:

I don’t know what it’s like for you, when you feel that wonderful feeling, of cool water hitting the back of your throat, and as you easily quench your thirst with every delicious gulp, and as you feel the weight of this water in your hands (show picture of water you’re selling), you know that your thirst will be gone in a matter of moments, and you get that sense of safety and satisfaction knowing that you are in full control of your desires, and have the capability to satisfy those desires (emphasize bottle of water) anytime you want, you know that “product name” will be waiting to serve you whenever you need it.


To master both content and structure language and take full charge of your life and your intentions, click on the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Word Power Can Move Society Towards New Directions

I was very happy to hear recently about a new bookstore opening downtown. I don’t when it is going to open; I suspect it will be at least a few months, judging by the stage they are in the construction. Nevertheless, by the looks of it, it is going to be a doozy. Everyone who has ever been able to enjoy a bookstore has at one point or another realized that the more books there are, the better the choices you have. Really successful bookstores, and bookstores chains (you know the one’s I’m talking about) will even order books for you that they don’t have on the shelf. And some bookstores are well known for their customer support. I’ve generally found that the people that work there are lovers of books, as well as me.

I feel sorry for those who have never set foot into a bookstore, although I understand books can be intimidating to some people. The great library of Alexandria wasn’t burned to the ground by accident. Ever the printing press and books were invented; the written word has had an almost magical power over people. I remember a great line in a movie I saw recently, and two different characters were talking about the difference between the printed word and the electronically displayed word. They had just broken a fantastic story, uncovering a big conspiracy. They were debating on publishing it in their newspapers print version first, or on the newspapers blog. The blog writer conceded and said “People need to have ink on their hands after reading this.” I thought that was a great play on words.

It is generally believed that the Germans first invented the printing press, and the world has never been the same since. And for a long while, it was the people that controlled the printing presses that controlled the thought and beliefs of society. Who knows what would have happened to Western Society had the owners of the printing press been Moslems of Buddhists. You can certainly appreciate the wonderful effect words have on your daily life, can you not?

Once a society has words spread throughout, they can never go back to their previous beliefs and way of living. The first thing that occurs in a society when a printed word is introduced is that there is a subtle shift of power. And nothing is more powerful that a printing press to sway the masses. Can you think of anything as persuasive as a well-written piece of work in your very hands?

Again and again, great religions and governments throughout time have referred to the written word to propagate their power and influence. It’s not wonder that the Gideon society replaces their hotel bibles every so often. And it’s not only the Gideons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons and other religions have relied heavily on printed material to promote their faith.

When you really stop and start to realize the power and prevalence the written word has over every aspect of your life, you can’t help but to wonder what life could have possibly been like if you could only rely on word of mouth, and stories past down from generation to generation to keep ideas alive. And when you really become aware of your own power to create and promote your own written words, you will really feel a sense of awareness of how much power you have, literally at your fingertips.

Luckily we live in day and age when it is fairly easy to set up a blog and write several times a week or even several times a day to get your ideas out there. Should you not realize how powerful this concept is, just count how many blogs there are today versus how many there were five years ago. And when you think of how much money you’d be making today had you started blogging a few years ago, you can really feel motivated to start now.

How many ideas do you have that are worth sharing with others? How many ways can you imagine putting your figurative pencil to paper and getting your thoughts out in the collective consciousness to literally change the direction of society? Are you not just as worthy as some other random blogger out there? Who cares if nobody reads it or not, there is still a plethora of benefits to writing down your ideas every day and publishing them for all to see. I wonder if you are no already more convinced of this than most people. Because when you leave behind your old ideas of what you used to think was possible, you can really enter into a whole new reality, a reality of your own construction.

What Lies Beneath Word Power

This morning I was out for my daily walk. I usually try to leave my apartment before six thirty. It’s a great time to walk. The sun is still low enough so you get that “sunrise” feeling. The air is calm and still. Whatever weather has been going on during the night is in transition to whatever the weather will be like for the day. It’s like a shift change in the weather factory. The people that make the nighttime weather have clocked out, and the daytime weather people are just getting started. Kind of like they are looking over the report from the night crew to see what they are supposed to be doing. Sometimes they night crew has to work overtime, and daybreak doesn’t have much effect on the weather.

But this morning, it did. Last night was terribly windy, and was making a huge racket. Swirling sounds making all kinds of weird noises that don’t normally occur. This morning was quite different. Still. Calm. The clouds that had rained a little bit last night were still up there, big and dark and threatening, but they had a kind of strange peace to them. When I walked through the rice fields I couldn’t help but notice the largeness of the sky. The mountains off in the distance. The flat fields that the farmers have been getting ready for the spring rice planting. Beautiful.

Then I passed by the stream where the carp live. There is an elementary school nearby, and the children love to feed the fish. And because carp can pretty much eat anything, they grow pretty big. The carp are conditioned to swim to the bank of the stream whenever they see a person stop. Even though it is just a simple condition/response mechanisms, as fish aren’t know for their high intellect, but it’s cool nonetheless. You could almost imagine their fish conversations interrupted by the presence of a human, as they break out of their normal fish cliques and congregate on the bank, hoping for some food. Of course I didn’t have any. Even though I know, deep in my psyche, that they are just fish, and cannot think, cannot plan, cannot communicate, I felt the need to at apologize for not having any food for them. (Of course I looked around to make sure nobody saw me talking to the fish.)

I’ve seen other people doing that as well. Talking to animals, as if the animal could understand, and respond. Many people who keep pets that have become part of the family will tell you that they do indeed understand them. And I’m sure they do. When I was kid, my brother had a red lab. He could understand several words, and what they meant. There was (is?) that gorilla, Koko, who could (can?) supposedly use sign language to express complex “human” emotions.

Where is the difference between simple training, and pure communication? Under what circumstances would a human be able to communicate with an animal that he/she has never met before? Is human/animal communication purely a stimulus/response mechanism, and the animal really doesn’t know what is going on?

I was reading an article about human communication. Only seven percent of our face-to-face communication is based on the words we use. The rest is based on voice tone, body language, facial expressions and about a million other things that they probably don’t even know how to measure yet.

I don’t disagree that words are incredibly important. Without words we wouldn’t have much of a civilization. The use of words and language is likely what powered human evolution to become as cerebral as we are. So we can write blogs and read novels and create beautiful music instead of sitting around eating bananas all day. But words aren’t the only thing. Not by a long shot. There is much more going on in our communication that just words. You’ll be amazed what you will learn when you really pay attention to things. It kind of gives “reading between the lines” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?


Harness the Ancient Power of Words

I just finished reading this book about evolution. Evolutionary psychology to be exact. This is rather a new science, one that has as many ideas and angles as their are scientists in this field. You can really go back in time and do a psychoanalysis of a cavemen, so it’s kind of hard to back up your theories with hard evidence, which is what scientists are generally supposed to do. But there are several theories that I think are very intriguing.

One is the reason that man developed a big brain. Some say to build tools. Some say because we needed language to navigate the ever changing environment filled not only with resources but dangerous predators. One interesting theory is that sexual selection is the main driving force behind our increasing intellect over the last million years or so.

Like gorillas that have the silver back get all the girls, and the peacock with the brightest feathers is the don juan of his community, in our human species, he with the biggest brain was the guy that scored all the cave girls back in the day. But how did the cave girls know? Female gorillas and peahens can see the silver backs and the bright feathers. How did human females know which guys were smart, and which were not so smart?

Remember, this all happened way before big civilizations were born, even before the agricultural revolution. The agricultural revolution happened around ten or fifteen thousand years or so ago, and the big civilizations didn’t start springing up until a few thousand years after that. So what happened in those hundreds of thousands of years before they knew how to plant and harvest? When they only lived in groups that were fifty people large or so? How did the girls know who was smart, and who wasn’t? What did the guys do to show off their intellect? They couldn’t paint, they couldn’t build cathedrals, writing hadn’t been invented yet, so they couldn’t write poetry.

How did the forces of sexual and natural selection manifest themselves to drive the brain of homo sapiens bigger and bigger. I have a thought, and idea that I’d like to think is at least partially true. I think I have an idea how those ancient cave men impressed the ladies of their day.

Language, and emotions. I say language because I think language developed far sooner than most people think. There are a few who believe it started a hundred thousand years or so ago, but most are of the opinion that it only started around thirty thousand years ago. I disagree. I think it started at the very least a hundred thousand years ago, or even sooner.

I say emotions because when you can adequately describe your emotions, your feelings, and you are skilled enough to move the emotions of the people you’re with, that makes you incredibly attractive as a suitor to women, and a leader to men. And these are the guys that passed their genes on to the next generation. Not the guys that sat around silent, and waited to be discovered.

I think the lady killers of the past were the ones that would later turn into the painters, the artists, the writers. But before all that stuff was invented, all they had were their words. And with their words, they were able to charm women, and lead men. 

I know there is absolutely no proof of this, no secret recordings that prehistoric men made when they were on their hunting expeditions, but I think that the creative source that predates art and literature and even religion itself, is a mastery of simple words.

Even one of my favorite religious texts, the book of John, starts out: “In the beginning was the word…”

Be careful and respectful of the words you speak, for they are ancient.

And powerful.