Photo by Tanja Cotoaga on Unsplash.

How our language affects our outcome

The world understands us by how we communicate of/to it


I recently attended a professional coaching programme and lest I forget, here is a piece on language based on what I learnt + my experiences thus far. We’ll cover a derivative of the speech act theory as well as some common pitfalls and what you can do to be more intentional when it comes to everyday language.

Two Ideas

We begin with two ideas to keep in mind that hopefully makes the rest of this piece more relevant.

Language is how we see the world

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — William Shakespeare

Our narratives are stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. They shape our reality and by consequence, our possibilities. Arguably the most critical conversation we can have is the one we have in our minds.

As an example, “I don’t know much about cryptocurrencies”. This could develop in two ways; one, “cryptocurrencies are confusing and hence are something to be avoided”, and the other, “cryptocurrencies are confusing so hey, who can I ask to learn more?” The former closes off the possibility of profitting (and also losing, in all fairness) from investing in crypto, while the latter opens up that very same possibility.

Language is not just about expressing our needs to others, but about how we understand ourselves through the stories we tell ourselves every day — our narratives.

Language creates our future

“I have a dream”― Martin Luther King Jr

As social creatures, language is also how we express ourselves to be understood; and to get what we want. By expressing ourselves to others with intentionality, we can create a reality we want.

By asking someone if I could have a cup of coffee — assuming it’s a barista I’m speaking to — I become one step closer to my desired reality where I can sip on a cup of hot latte. Of course, that person could always declare they are off work and deny me of my desired reality, but that person in turn…



Joseph Matthias Goh

I write about my learnings in technology, software engineering, DevOoops [sic], growing people, and more recently Web3/DeFi