Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right – part 1

The Power of Language

Language has power.

Hacking the Human Brain for Wrong Until Right - The Power of Language on Mindset - Mike Russell

That was one of the messages in the last insight.  More specifically, it is that language has power as long as it has meaning.  The issue explored last time is how some words are being overused, misused, and watered down to the point where they lose power.

This time, we will continue the focus on language … specifically on words and their power to affect mindset.

Michael Hyatt’s recent post on “How a Small Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Affect Your Attitude” (http://michaelhyatt.com/how-a-shift-in-your-vocabulary-can-instantly-change-your-attitude.html) is a recent example of how “mouth set” affects mindset.  He, and others like Zig Ziglar who regularly expounded on the drawbacks of “stinkin thinkin,” have explored how using certain words can either positively or negatively affect our mindset.  Furthermore, words can also shape our opinions.

Why is this concept important to you as a leader?  Several reasons:

  • Mindset affects individual productivity. Hyatt’s note highlights this assertion.  If a person thinks what they do doesn’t matter, or adopts a negative attitude, they will naturally accomplish less.
  • Mindset affects team productivity. Negative mindsets don’t get better through multiplication.  In fact, the result of a herd of negative mindsets is less productivity than individual productivity impact alone.  Not only will individuals with negative mindsets perform worse on their own, but their interactions as team members will suffer as well, reducing team productivity even further than just the sum of individual impacts.
  • Mindset affects “Wrong Until Right” approach success. Innovation, solving problems, and adapting in general depend on looking up and outward rather than down at our shoes and inward.  Negative mindsets will generally limit work to work at hand, if even that.
  • Negativism is an organizational cancer. Negativism spreads rapidly if not caught early and checked, especially if those with negative mindsets have significant influence.

In short, mindset affects attitude which affects performance.  While some may think that attitude is not a performance issue, it is.  Deal with it early and as often as needed as a leader.


  • Remember you as a leader have enormous influence. Your example is generally followed by others.
    Do your words provide a good mindset example to others?  What is one thing you can do to improve?
  • Do you have any mindset “cancer cells” in your organization?
    Pick one to deal with immediately and work your way through the others.


By Mike Russell