Watch Your Affirmations

In the past, I have scoffed at the idea of affirmations. You know, “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.” That sort of thing.

I don't feel that way anymore, because I have realized every human being on the planet practices affirmations. It's simply that most of us do it unconsciously. Most of us didn't even take the affirmations we use.

Here's what I mean: it seems to me that most of us have certain phrases, thoughts, and thinking patterns that we inherited from our nurturing environment as we were growing up. From our parents. From our peers. From our teachers. And those phrases ring in our minds no matter how old we might be today. Some common examples:

  • “Money doesn't grow on trees.”
  • “Look before you leap.”
  • “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
  • “Haste makes waste.”
  • “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I'm not here to debate the truth of any of those statements, I'm just illustrating that we all have phrases we repeat to ourselves over and over throughout our lives. There are, I believe, many other such phrases (and unconscious patterns of thought) that we repeat on a daily basis. We are unaware of these patterns, for the most part. They may be subtle, or they may be quite obvious (like the examples I've already given).

The spooky part, at least as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that most of us didn't choose these affirmations. We are not even aware of them. We simply accepted them without critical evaluation. You might want to let that sink in.

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you're automatically thrust into a leadership position. Others look to you for example. Don't you agree it's valuable to be aware of what you are thinking, day in and day out?

Suggested exercise: pay attention to repetitive patterns in your speech and thinking today-and ask yourself whether those patterns are helpful, or perhaps not so helpful.

Comments or observations? Leave them here on this page, please!

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at