Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right, part 2

The Power of Language to Help Bring About Change

Have you ever heard or read anything about personal motivation?  Have you noticed almost all types involve some aspect of what people say to others and themselves?  That language is important to motivation?  Why?

Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right - The Power of Language - Mike Russell

Mindset and language are linked.  What language or words people use has a great deal to do with how they view a situation and, correspondingly, how the situation affects them.  How they are affected has a bearing on resulting behavior.  Therefore, changing personal attitudes, exercise routines, diet, and other habits depends greatly on changing the thinking – the mindset – and the related language.

Changing to a “Wrong Until Right” mindset is no different.  We have difficulty changing our mindset long-term until we also change our language to complement and reinforce the mindset.  And, until our interactions with others involve different language, people will not know our mindset and related expectations are different.

Words like “plan,” “project,” and “budget” commonly connote facts, ability to achieve as initially laid out, and so on … manifestations of “right until wrong” thinking.

For example, when someone presents a plan or project, ask them:

“How will you quickly test assumptions?”

The first response may be “What assumptions?” since a common underlying mindset is that the plan is based on unchanging facts, i.e., the mindset is “right until wrong.”  Another response may be “What do you mean by quickly test?” since “test” is commonly assumed to come at the end of an effort, if at all.

Both of those responses and others like them provide a perfect opportunity to have the conversation about “wrong until right” … to engage and train others … by altering language and practice at the same time.


  • Think through the last 24 hours. What words have you used that convey a “Wrong Until Right” mindset?  A “right until wrong” mindset?
  • Pick one of the “right until wrong” words and commit to consciously replacing it with a “Wrong Until Right” alternative for the next week.


By Mike Russell