Success Semantics: How to emphasize success in everyday language

Written by on October 15, 2019


Sometimes How You Say It Is More Important Than What You Say

The sentence hanging on the wall was simple:

happy place

(This is my happy place.)


Such a beautiful statement.  We see such beauty and dismiss it with a quick read, a chuckle, and then move on through our day.  What if there were as many messages in this sentence as there are words?

How is that possible?  Our language structure, while more confining than most of us realize, does allow for some very interesting nuance in the way we emphasize a sentence.

This begs the question about how we interpret what we read.  How much does our disposition affect our cognition? So much of our life is often seen through the lens of past conditioning, beliefs, fears, doubts, and worries that we can easily miss other ways to “see” the same thing.

The amazing thing is that no one way is correct, rather each way we can emphasize this sentence can give us a different, yet wholly-applicable way of viewing success in life.  Let’s break down this sentence and see how each emphasis can not only change the meaning, but also the lesson of success.


THIS is my happy place.

With the emphasis on the first word, we find ourselves making a declaration.  My happy place is here, we tell our ourselves.  No doubt about it.

There is a special power in making a declaration.  It’s a commitment that, even if not realized before this moment, moving forward this is how it will be.  No more ambiguity about the future. We’re putting our foot down and making a decision.

Declarations also provide clarity.  It defines the future in a way that allows our mind to focus on making it happen.  Our minds don’t operate well on generalities. They must have a clear view of what’s ahead in order to put our faculties to work on achieving it.  

Maybe we’re declaring a physical location, a particular passion we love to do, or just a state of being.  As they say, if you can believe it, you can achieve it.


This IS my happy place.

With the emphasis now on the second word, we are very likely making an affirmation.  Wait a minute, we say, I almost forgot that this is where my happy is.

An affirmation is essentially a reminder to ourselves of what is or what should be.  The power of affirmations is that it helps keep our declarations that we’ve made (in the form of goals, dreams, plans) cemented in the forefront of our minds.  It reminds us why we even got out of bed this morning.

Even more powerfully, affirmations can be used to program ourselves with what we want and help undo any programming that we don’t want.  What we say to ourselves in the form of an affirmation does NOT have to be true. We just have to want it to be true.

Affirming our success is crucial to realizing it.  As they say, that which you think about, you eventually bring about.


This is MY happy place.

Now we emphasize the third word and find that we just taken ownership of it.  We tell ourselves that we’re in control of his happy place.

Ownership is the cornerstone of control.  And control (as in self-control) is just another word for Freedom.  If we are in full control of what we do, how we do it, when we do it, and with whom we do it, how can we not create the life of our dreams?

Of course, to take ownership, we must take 100% full personal responsibility for it.  This is another foundation for success. It’s when we don’t take responsibility for something that we forfeit any chance to change it.  Without the ability to change it, we cannot control it.

When we do take personal responsibility, an amazing thing happens.  Not only can we control our lives, but nobody can ever take it away from us.  As they say, if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.


This is my HAPPY place.

Moving on to word four, placing our emphasis here defines our attitude towards it.  We tell ourselves how this place will affect us and everything we do.

Attitude is everything.  Well, okay, not everything, but it can definitely affect the way to approach everything in our lives.  It is the one thing that will have us looking for what’s right with something or complaining about what’s wrong with it.

When we decide to approach something with the expectations of success, we often find a way to become successful.  A great attitude will often lead to the right behavior and hence the right results. And the right results will then reinforce the great attitude.

If nothing else, a positive attitude just feels better.  And as they say, when you feel good, you do good.


This is my happy PLACE.

Finally, we emphasize the last word and start to see our associations.  We recognize that our environment is having a positive effect on us.

Associations are of vital importance to success.  We tend to be, do, and have just like the closest 5 people we have around us.  If they are all unhappy, poor, and angry, there is almost a guarantee that we are, or will soon be, the same.  Conversely, if they are all wealthy, happy, and fulfilled, so shall we be.

Consider how powerful this concept is.  We cannot be comfortable in a group unless we just like that group.  Knowing this, if we put ourselves in groups unlike us, but that more closely resemble the type of person we wish to be, we may have no choice but to rise to their level.

Most importantly, associations are not just people.   It could be what we read, listen to on the radio, or watch on TV.  Anything that we feed our minds can and will have a direct influence on who we become.


The good news is that we can indeed slow down and read with intention in order to take away the deeper lessons of any set of words and properly absorb the message.  Not that every message is beneficial, but if we can take the good and leave the bad, we’ll find golden nuggets of wisdom everywhere.


  • Do you agree with us about language?

  • Did any of these things surprise you?

  • Do you have a story you’d like to share about an experience you or a friend have had with seeing the message in the words?


One of the stated missions of Broke Is No Joke is to help people escape the rat race and monetize their passions on their way to becoming the best version of themselves

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