Decision. Choice Stress. Commitment. Relationship. Communication. What do you notice that all these words have in common? These words are used a lot. And, these words reflect processes that’ve been turned into nouns. You may ask why does that matter. When you change a process into a permanent “thing”, you limit your choices for action. You’re more likely to get stuck. Making words active helps you move.

I stumbled across this phenomena in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). It’s called nominalization. Rather than seeing actions in constant motion they’re seen as unchanging. For example, can you physically see stress and throw it in a basket? No. It’s a continual process of stressing.

You can take the example of stress forward. The likelihood is high you’ve mastered the process of being stressed if it’s a constant part of your experience. You’ve got the ability to stop the process and change it. At a minimum, you can be more aware of your choice every moment to stress. It’s not a permanent fixture in your life.

Or say you’ve made a difficult decision. Maybe you don’t feel it was the right decision. And you dwell on the “decision”. What if you noticed you’re deciding moment to moment to stick to that course of action. It’s not permanent. You’ve got choices. How does that change your experience?

To get some real-life feel for this phenomena, try this practice below.

Simple Practice Using Words to Get Unstuck

Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Then, read the statements below aloud. After saying each statement, rate how open you feel to new possibilities on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being low and 10 being high). 

I made a decision to lead this new project.

I decide to lead this new project.

I’m not good with presentations.

II don’t present well.

I don’t have a good relationship with that person.

I don’t relate well with that person.

Take a moment to note down your personal insights.

Any time you’re feeling stuck, take a step back. Lay out the matter at hand in a sentence. Try changing nouns to verbs and see how your choices open up.

I’m curious. What is one area in your life where making words active would shift your experience? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.