All posts in Matters of the Mind

Linguistic Reframing – watch your words!


For a long time I’ve been aware of and very interested in how the words we use in conversation affect the decisions that people make – I call it Linguistic Reframing.

A few years ago I got SO interested in the subject that I did a diploma on Clinical Hypnosis so I could begin to understand why some words got significantly different outcomes than others. What I learned over those few months amazed me much more than I ever imagined.

I’ve tons of examples to remember but I’ve started this blogpost as a place to list all the ones I come across. I’ll update as I remember/discover more.

Anyway, here’s the first few examples that I can think of.

Undesirable PhrasesTarget Phrases
it's more expensive it's high quality
it will take as MUCH AS 3 daysit would ONLY take 3 days
I've some bad newsThe update is
The ONLY thing I have isWhat I DO have is…
Don't forget.....Remember....
You'll see thatYou'll notice that
You'll feel thatYou'll notice that
Picture this...Imagine this...


If you know of any I should add to the list please tell me by email, TwitterLinkedInFacebook or contact me here.

Over the years I’ve been testing different email subject lines, Google ad variations and text combinations to see which call-to-actions and words create the outcome I want – more sales/signups/calls/whatever.

One test I ran on the CTA(call-to-action) of a Google image ad can be found HERE.

Some of the email AB tests I’ve ran recently can be found HERE.


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RIP Steve Jobs



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Where has the hunger gone?

the old me

So, where has the hunger gone?

The old me would pump away on the rowing machine without complaint – knowing that it would count towards a race finish.

The old me would jump out of bed at 6 in the morning to drive to any end of the country to race, would shrug off suggestions that “you should stop” as I’ve spent months on crutches, in hospitals and even in a wheelchair on occasion, would spend hours prepping my bikes, cleaning gear, changing tyres, filters, lenses and all the other jobs our passion involves.

I like the old me…….the old me knew what I wanted.

I went on the annual UK road trip with all the lads in August: 12 lads, 4 days, 4 amazing tracks – what more could I want? I went practicing a few times a week for the month beforehand and, honestly, it felt like a chore. What kept me going was the fact that without the practice the trip was pointless – you just can’t expect your body to hack 4 days MX without something going wrong. The trip was great, good lads, good nights out, fun on the road but I don’t remember much of the riding. I rode, obviously, but nothing sticks in my memory.

I’m trying to work out what’s changed.

On the first day Sean Kelly, #537, an experienced A rider, had a small mistake on a tabletop. Right in front of my eyes, he badly severed the ligaments of his knee. This wouldn’t normally bother me but I kept running the scenario: “what if it was me?”. Anyone who knows me will be aware, but, I’ve done my share of time in hospitals from accidents. In the past they would never phase me, after all, as I always say: “If you spend that much time on two wheels you have to expect to spend some time on two crutches”.

What’s changed?

I’ve been doing a lot in the IT world recently and we’re just about to launch a new App. That’s been very time consuming but also very rewarding and exciting. I’m also meant to be building my (most bit chin’ ever) batchelor pad…….. also on the long finger. I’m also riding road bikes again a bit, not that it should make much odds.

The craziest thing about not riding MX at the minute is that I’m in better shape now to ride than I have been for about 3 years! I’ve been in the gym 2-3 days a week, I’ve got a personal trainer and I got my knee fixed last winter…am I getting old?…..

Anyway I’ve decided to sell the 450 and see if the hunger to go dirty biking comes alive again. It pisses me off knowing that it is just sitting there, literally ready to be fired up and do laps. If I sell it, it’ll be the first time I’ve not had a motocross bike waiting for me, in about 9 years.

This can go one of two ways: I’ll miss the thing I once loved so much and I’ll prepare, buy a new bike and ride every weekend of 2012, just like every other year of my adult life. The other way it could go is I may never have a motocross bike again.

I’ve got some decisions to make.


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Being aware of my surroundings.


The events of the last few days brought me to a conclusion, more so than ever, I’m now convinced.

The Chameleon Lizard doesn’t decide to make himself green or blue or red, but, if he stands close to blue surroundings, his body takes on the characteristics of his environment. His sub-conscious reacts to his surroundings and creates a physical change in him. It’s for this reason I came to ask myself, what environment do I surround myself in? What individuals do I stand alongside and is their mentality the outlook I want myself to aspire to? Is this the route to a healthy future or not?

The answer for me was no, so I’ve decided to make a change. Intelligent people are the ones who can make a change……or at least someone intelligent wrote that.

I’m very lucky that my surroundings until now, family mostly, have brought me to the level of understanding that I can realise this link to my surrounding influences affecting my future path. In the same breath I feel pity for those that aren’t even aware, those that are frustrated with the hand they’ve been dealt but can’t see what’s around them.

Think of a child who sees their parents stressing when dealing with issues, they adopt this pattern of behaviour. Think of an adult who chooses to engulf themselves in a social group that drinks heavily weekly, work with no passion or engage in negative beliefs….. they adopt this behaviour without conscious choice.

Do I believe we are creatures of free will? In a sense perhaps but mostly no. Most of our free will, our early programming, was decided for us, pre-teens. However, I do believe we can choose, as adults, what environment to place our awareness in now. I believe our minds will fill in the remaining decisions.

With this mind, it becomes so important as to what people we surround ourselves in. People with ambition lead to nurturing and growing our own ambition. People with drive propel our own drive.

I’ve made a deal with myself, it’s a selfish deal but one that will benefit the people around me. From here forward I will critique the individuals that I surround myself in and the new people I bring into my life. For the people I’m about to meet, pleased to meet you.

We can’t change our nature, it’s evolutionarily pre-programmed, but we can question the nurture we receive from here forward.

Do I want to be the chamillion changing colour to the environment he is in? Yes, I do, but I know to make sure the background is one I’m pleased with.


Positive Thinking or ‘they must be drinking’!

This video I stumbled across, I feel, offers a far more honest opinion on your typical American ‘Positive Thinking’ and the effect it has on us. I’ve always had my doubts over people who preach “put a smile on and all will be well” – very often that’s just not true.

What I do believe in is that dwelling, on previous bad experiences, can cloud your judgement going forward. Similarly I do see myself making better decisions when I’m in a good(not blindly positive) mood. In the same light, holding a positive/desired outcome in your mind, I find, also directs us when we reach a cross-road. Holding this desired end destination (job, house, partner, health….whatever) in our thoughts ensures that we make the right choices, guided by our sub-conscious. But make no mistake, this isn’t blind positive thinking, this is keeping the carrot in-front of ourselves, so we keep moving forward.

Bad stuff happens, get on with it, and remember where we want to go. In this video Barbara Ehrenreich delivers an intelligent breakdown of her opinions on American positivity, and its risks.


I recently read ‘The Power of your Subconscious Mind’ by DR Joseph Murphy. It’s a heavy read, brushing on part-truths, but taking the theory of our thoughts controlling the world around us to ridiculous, un-scientific, levels. He tries to cast aside any particular religion but fails miserably – there’s a strong Catholic undertone…not that I mind.

However to suggest that cancer is often caused by negative inner thoughts is BONKERS! Surely everyone, of a sane disposition, realises the cruel random nature of our cells running away with themselves. Granted a person with a positive outlook may enjoy the rest of their life, post-diagnosis, more but suggesting that they can affect the outcome of treatment for a disease, outside the reached of our immune system, is ridiculous. In summary: worth the read but with an open mind.

Thought calibration, positive thinking, hypnosis and even religion – what sometimes scares me is how so many people take these ideas as the given truth, without ever questioning themselves. They all stem from truths but most have gotten sidetracked whilst delivering to the masses.