Have you ever said something to someone, then been asked, “What do you mean by that?”

You believed you expressed yourself quite clearly using words that described your thought.  The problem was not the words you used, but rather the meaning the receiving person gave the words you used.

Now at first glance you would think that 2 people speaking the same language would be able to understand each other.  However, we are influenced in our lives by more than just words. We have an innate ability to take a word and give it meaning that may be different from someone else’s meaning.

Let me back up for just a moment to explain words.

Every human being has the unique application of forming sounds in different patterns (i.e. languages) to communicate with another human.  We call these sound patterns words.  Words allow us to share between each other thoughts, mental pictures and feelings we have.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines words as: “a sound or combination of sounds that has a meaning and is spoken or written”

When you want something and you need to get it from someone else what do you do?  Or a better question – what do you say?

First you would use words that you understand, that best describe your want.  However you could show a picture or make a body movement, but unless the person you are trying to get something from is looking at you – they will not know you want something.  Agreed?

Imagine trying to convey a message using a photo…. It could take you a lot of time trying to show someone what it is you want through the photo.  You are dependent on them knowing what the picture you are showing actually is.  Then they need to decipher what it is you want and why you are showing them the picture of it.

That is the foundation of using words.

If you have arguments with people or get frustrated when you are not understood, it is important to know that the meaning you give a word may not be the meaning the person you are speaking to has for the same words.

Why this is important

Because like a conversation you have with someone else, you also have a conversation with yourself.  If you have accomplished something that is of importance to yourself – I would venture to guess that the conversation in your head goes something like:  Way to go, you did it!  I knew you could. Nice job!

Conversely, if you did not achieve a result you wanted you the conversation in your head may go something like: “I knew it. You are not good enough. Loser. Who do you think you are?”

I call this Self-Talk and it goes on all the time in our heads.

Did you know that If you just change the words you use you can actually change your life?

For just a moment we are going to look at something you have done in your life.  An accomplishment where you liked the outcome.  If you cant come up with something try this…  riding a bicycle.

Today you can get a bike and lift your leg and then step on a pedal and start pushing it so that the wheels turn and you begin to move, right? I am assuming you can.

Well there was a time when that was something that you could not do it.  The actions you took were NOT the correct ones to get the bike to move without it falling over, right?

And the thoughts you had in your head were around you possibly doing it – or not being able to.

And the words you were saying to yourself were NOT – I did it … or I am doing it, but rather I would like to, I think I can, I can’t or it is hard.

So what changed?

How did you go from not being able to ride the bike to riding the bike?

You changed what you said to yourself.

So here is what it looks like:


In an earlier blog I shared the element of Decision Making.  You decide what words to use. You decide what thoughts to have. You decide how to feel. You decide what action to take.

If you want a different result in your life – you cannot change the result by trying to change the result.

Your most powerful work comes when you change the words you use.  Why to know why people say what do you mean by that?  Because they don’t have the same meaning for the words you use.

So instead of getting upset and lashing out or feeling insignificant., ask for clarity? Get an understanding of their meaning.  Become someone who seeks to understand instead of understood.

You can never control someone else – you can only control yourself.

YouTube Lesson

When my son was 19 he had me sign into my YouTube account. He showed me all the key areas that I can add words to a video I had posted.  He started with the name of the file, then the description and the tags. Why do you think these are important he asked me?

Because people type characters (letters that form words) to look up something like in Google.

The response from Google is a match of characters that are associated to the video.  Just because you think the video is the best ever – if you do not have words that match what people are searching for you will not have your video show up for their request.

Let’s look at the topic of “dogs”.   If you type “my dog” in Google, have a look at the page results versus when you type “your dog” in Google.

What is important here is – the response from Google (in our example for dogs) does not mean the site pages that come up first are THE BEST information for what you are looking for.  It only means that the pages that came up are the most relevant and the closest to what you typed in the search field before you hit the “submit” button.

When I understood this concept  – use words that best describe my video and match what people are searching for – I made sure I was clear what my video provided.

I know Google has a logic piece built in that says … match character for character.  But we as humans do as well.  We call it meaning.  We instantaneously look at something and say, “What does this mean” and “What should I do?”

If you want a different result in your life – then you need to change the words you use.

Do you want to accelerate the process? Sign up to Reinventing Your Dreams coaching today!

Yours in Midlife.

Kevin Huhn
Canada’s #1 ‘Reinventing Midlife Dreams’ Coach
Award Winning Expert/
Author, How to Reinvent Midlife Dreams
Founder, Savour Your Midlife Dreams