Good advice comes from many sources. Mom is notorious for knowing best, and most of us have a favourite teacher whose words of wisdom echo through our lives, but sometimes the advice comes from a 3 foot high, 864 year old alien.

My father illustrated this in a café in Vancouver, when he laid the spoon he had just used to scoop four loads of sugar into his cup of coffee onto the Formica table and said to me: "Try to pick up the spoon."

After wondering briefly if the old man was cracking up, and examining the situation for possible traps, I reached out my hand and picked it up.

"You failed," he said, taking the utensil out of my small hand. After placing the spoon on the table again, he repeated his direction to TRY to pick up the spoon.

I was a pretty clever 9-year-old, but as I sat there, I didn't know how I was going to cope with a batty old man for a father. Watching his face for signs of drooling, I slowly reached out and grasped the spoon and lifted.

"No," he smirked "fail."

"Well what do you mean, then?" I said in the exasperated tone only a pre-teen can master.

"You'll have to think about it." And it became apparent that he would not entertain any other questions or conversation until I had solved the riddle.

Now that I am a parent, I recognise that he was not only teaching me an important life lesson, but that he was also desperate for a quiet cup of coffee.

The trick is, of course, that once you actually pick up the spoon, you are no longer trying, you are doing.

The words we choose shape our world. By changing the words we use, we can change our lives radically. Watch a video about this by clicking here to read the rest on my blog!

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