The Mind Altering Power Of A Word

Unfortunately I had T4-T8 spinal neurosurgery in 1998 which pretty much changed my life, and then I went on to have twins.  But back in the day, we went skiing at least once a year.  And before “global warming” ensured the Alps were swamped with heavy dumps of snow every year (J), our preferred destination was the snow guaranteed resort of Whistler in Canada.

Canadians for me, (and I mean absolutely no disrespect here so do not flame me) are a sort of halfway house between the British and Americans, having a lot of the great mindset qualities of both but without any of the annoying habits of either.  If I ever come back again, I wouldn’t mind being Canadian.

Anyway, on this particular visit to Whistler, I decided to take group skiing lessons in a “women only” group.  Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t appeal but as I’d had a bellyful of male ski instructors who tried to explain more with “stick” than “carrot”, and just didn’t “get” that I needed encouragement not shaming when I stood petrified at the top of a precipitous run, I gave it a go. 

The difference was amazing.  In a supportive and encouraging group, I came on in leaps and bounds.  But there was one ski instructor who particularly affected me.  It was her style of encouragement that made the difference to me.  And it was just one word.


She never said “good”, or “OK” or, worse, no comment at all.  Whenever we did anything new, even if we got just one part right (mogul fields, “bumps”, were a particular example as we all got stuck at various places), she always found what we did right and said, “that (bit) was perfect!”.

I’ve never worked so hard to improve my skiing in my life.  And I wasn’t the only one.

From that moment I decided to incorporate “perfect” into my daily speech.  It was awkward at first but gradually it became easier and I actually started to hear others were also saying it back to me!  “Perfect” makes a difference in the way people behave, act, and treat you and it generally makes life seem a little bit better. 

The positive shift in my mental attitude brought about by this one little word was significant over time.  It stood me in good stead during the long months of recovery from my neurosurgery.

“OK” is such a nothing term.  Why settle for “ok” when it can be “perfect”?

Author: SOT


5 thoughts on “The Mind Altering Power Of A Word”

  1. Brilliant, Susan (or I should say ‘perfect’!!). What a positive and encouraging post. The power of language is truly amazing. Positive and encouraging responses from people around us makes so much difference to our quality of life. You’re a real gem.

    Enjoy the journey.


  2. Hi Susan

    Interesting post….love the part about Canadians being half American and half British. Well, my ex-fiance is a French-Canadian, quite different from the ones you mention so when careful what you wish for when you ask to come back as one!



  3. Perfect post Susan,
    Words are very powerful. I can’t understand why people utter negative comments. However, as you point out ‘OK’ is just halfway house, why not go one step further with ‘Perfect’. I will try and incorporate this into my track coaching comments.

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