Auto Injury T R I B U N E
The Secret to Limitless Positivity POWER OF WORDS About 15 years ago, I lost a case that I should have won. My client had been rear-ended, but the jury messed up. They ruled against us because I didn’t show a police report. What the jury didn’t know is that you’re not allowed Our word choice doesn’t just impact our own lives. The words we choose can also impact the lives of those around us, even total
strangers. Sometime ago I was standing in a huge line at Starbucks. The line was moving slowly, though I could see the baristas rushing around behind the counter. They were clearly understaffed. When it was my turn, the barista asked how my day was going, but her eyes never left her computer screen. She was ready to take my order.
to show police reports, but I didn’t bring this up beforehand. At the time, I had two assistants working on the case with me, and they both had very different reactions. One assistant was furious. She kept raging about how angry she was and calling the jurors all kinds of names. My other assistant was more subdued. I asked her if she was upset, and she told me, “I’m annoyed and disappointed for our client.” They were both unhappy about how the case went, but they used different words and that impacted how they reacted to the situation. One assistant was angry and she stayed angry for a long time. The other was disappointed, but she was already looking ahead to make sure this didn’t happen to another client. I took this to heart and learned two lessons. First, make sure the jury isn’t waiting to see a police report. And second, we should choose our words more carefully. The words we choose when speaking to others and when speaking to ourselves matter. I’m a big believer that the way you talk to yourself impacts your life. If you talk to yourself negatively all the time, then negativity is all you’ll see. If you’re always putting yourself down, then you’ll never have the courage to take risks or go after what you
want in life. Likewise, when we use positive words to describe ourselves or our lives, we tend to see a lot more positivity in the world. I don’t mean pretending everything is okay when it’s not. But if you’re struggling with something, no good comes from saying, “I’m such an idiot. I can’t do this!” The situation feels so much different if you instead say, “This is difficult, but I’ll get there.” I also make a point to pick a more positive word when I’m talking. I don’t call Karen my wife, because a lot of people associate the word “wife” with “ball and chain” negativity. Instead she’s my girl. Some people raise their eyebrows at first, but to me, this sounds more positive. Likewise, I never use the word “habit.” When people hear the word habit, they automatically think of bad habits. Instead, I use the word “ritual” when I talk about the routines we can develop to improve our lives. For example, a good morning ritual can set you up to have a much better, more productive day.
“I am doing fantastic!” I told her brightly.
She stopped and looked up at me with surprise. Then she smiled and said, “I’m really glad to hear that.” When we choose to use positive words, we can bring positivity into the lives of other people. All we need to do is pick a word that is slightly better or more positive than whatever the situation currently is. After waiting in a long line, I was fine, but by telling the barista I was fantastic, I brightened her day. Plus, it made me feel more positive, and when I walked out with my order, my day was feeling pretty fantastic. Words mean things. The words we use matter and have power over our lives. Let’s be more thoughtful about the words we choose to use each day.
–Ramiro Rodriguez, Jr.
El Abogado Ramiro (El Abogado Amigo) y su equipo hablan español
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