The Sapri-Whorf hypothesis, developed by linguists in the mid 20th century, says that your thought influences your decisions and actions. Of course, like all theories, there is plenty of debate about how much words influences reality, but in effect, they do change how we live our lives.

Below are statements that are generally equal. The left side is “negative” and the right side is “positive”.


When you start to speak in the positive, you move forward. Positive language tends towards the active rather receiving. You control your surroundings. If life is a summation of your choices and you choose to be a victim, then the world controls you, your life, your fate. You are a reckless, lackluster loser who just is acted upon by the government and nature controls you or God or any other external force. The one thing that benefits from this is that because you’re not responsible, you’re not to blame. And hey, who would like to live a blame free life? We hate to be wrong.

What I’m saying here is that people really need to take the direction in their lives and the energy that they push forward into the world. If you tell someone that you “hate the rain” versus you “love the rain,” you are putting positive energy out there in the world. The rain doesn’t change. You change. You are helping other people to move forward and smile and laugh. You are helping others to live a more positive world. You are loving life and moving forward and why not.

Think to yourself: would you rather be around positive people or negative?

We instinctively like happy and smiling people. It’s sometimes hare to put a positive spin on everything in the world. You may have to make a tough decision about firing someone at work, your daughter may be sick, you may have just lost your job, you have just found out your spouse was cheating on you, or some other challenge might be filling your life. You may have those times and it is difficult to have a positive look into the world when that happens. It is good to remember, this too is life.

You have the choice of how to frame what is happening to you in a more positive way.


Some things are certainly dreadful. If a spouse has cancer, it is a challenge to turn your thoughts into a decisive, positive challenge. This takes strength and courage. And when you do this, people will appreciate your caring enough to move towards the positive, to vision towards the shore rather than the fear of the large ocean of what can go wrong. We all know that we live on the razor’s edge of oblivion, but to smile into the joy we have on this planet and to see the bright side of the day, will bring energy to others. You sometimes do not know what is happening in their life, and your smile, your appreciation of rain, your ability to make someone else laugh can open the world for them and make there day a special place.


This week, work to remove the negative in this simple way: remove the word, “not” and try to phrase things in the positive. “I’d rather not go out” translates into I’d rather stay at home. “I don’t like him” could mean that you like to be around positive people. Look at this simple little word in your vocabulary and see how it can change your view and reality. Once you know what you want, then you have some direction. If you lack direction, that’s okay too. Start moving, flowing, and ask yourself, “What do I want?”

David Sweet is the managing director of the HR consultancy FocusCore, executive coach, and author of the award winning, Sweet Sales. His passion is to help people break free from what’s holding them back. He is also a runnoholic. You can find out more about him at and follow him on Twitter @drdavidsweet