Take a Look at the Language You Use

By way of explaining Sebastian Vettel’s decision to ignore Team Red Bulls’ instructions, a sports psychologist writes: ‘all the training has produced hard wired neural circuitry… In competition he is trained to overtake a slower car’.

Now there may be something in this, but this kind of language is used so frequently that we can lose sight of the fact that we are not actually hard wired. ‘Hard wired neural circuitry’ is a metaphor that sounds mechanical and physically reliable and in doing so distracts us from the fact that the human psyche is not a mechanism, let alone a predictable and reliable one.

We shouldn’t take our general compliance for granted, we often behave instinctively and this brings with it a level of unpredictable response. We might become better at predicting our responses, or in sticking to the plans we set, but these things do not actually go together naturally. A happy outcome often also relies a good deal on chance.

If we get taken in by the language we use, we risk confusing ourselves about what we are, what we are capable of, and of what we should and should not expect of ourselves or others.

When did you last take a good look at the language you use? What kind of language do you use to describe what you expect from yourself? Does the language you use help you develop a constructive way of living?

Replies are welcome.