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The Mouth Speaks

By Orrin Woodward

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. – Matthew 12:34

It’s amazing how much one can learn from a person just by listening.

People who believe that they have a positive attitude, give away their negativity when they speak.

I like to begin mentoring sessions with, “Tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The good we will celebrate, the bad we will make adjustments, and the ugly we will pray about.”

This is sure to get people talking, helping me to identify, not just what happened, but how they are thinking about what happened.  This is more important than the event; since the event happens only once.  But how they think about the event repeats over and over in their minds and hearts.

Painful experiences happen to both achievers and non-achievers.  The difference is in the responses.  Achievers learning from the bad cards, choose to draw more.  While non-achievers complaining about the cards of life being stacked against them, choose to quit the game.

But what’s actually stacked against them is their own thinking. Winners received the same stimulus, but chose to respond differently than the non-winners.

When something bad happens to a winner, he immediately focuses on minimizing its effects, learning anything he can from the situation.  No pity parties, no woe is me attitudes, just resolution and teachable moments.

The extent a person wins in life, is many times, related to how quickly he can go from problem identified to problem solved, learning through the pain of the process.  When people stay down for weeks, months, sometimes even years at a time, can they honestly expect a positive outcome?

There is only so much mental energy when it’s spent dwelling on negative thoughts, allowing them to enter the heart, eventually pouring out of the mouth.  Why is anyone shocked that so little is accomplished in life?

The key is pulling the weeds (negative thoughts) upon entering the mind, not allowing them to move into the heart and out the mouth.  Weeds are much easier to pull when immediately seized upon entering the mind, but much tougher when allowed to root in the heart, eventually flowing out of the mouth.

Don’t provide fertile soil in the mind for weeds; don’t allow weeds to seed into the heart.  And don’t allow negative seeds to spread out of your mouth, infecting other people. The former leader literally becoming a carrier of negativity.

Leaders are gardeners of their own minds, identifying and pulling weeds quickly.  True leaders are never down period, choosing to pull weeds promptly.  But if they ever were down, they certainly wouldn’t spread the disease to their communities, since they know that pulling weeds is an inside job.

If a weed is extra difficult, then leaders have the discipline to seek out their mentors for help, refusing to contaminate others with their weed seeds.  One of the first, and most important, assignments of any would-be leader is consistent and prompt pulling of his own weeds.

It’s not an option if he plans on inspiring others, since no one is inspired by a bitter attitude and sour faced person.  Pull your weeds, guard your mind, protect your heart, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  Leadership occurs when people have confidence in the leader.

If a person’s attitude is unpredictable, he disqualifies himself for leadership, until he learns to pull his own weeds. Leaders are dealers in hope, change, and growth, beginning inside themselves.  Perhaps it’s time that we launched a leadership revolution.

Let’s start the revolution by tending to our own gardens.


Orrin Woodward is the co-founder of Team, a leadership development and training company, and the New York Times best-selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution.

Named by the International Association of Business as a Top 10 Leadership Guru, he is dedicated to building leaders and entrepreneurs and promoting freedom and prosperity.

Orrin blogs regularly at Orrin Woodward. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with his wife and four children.

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