Passwords and Positive Self-Talk

Note: Although the focus of this blog is on creative ways to use technology for teaching and learning, occasionally I may share something else that crosses over into the technology realm, but also addresses the human condition. For as much as we are all technology enthusiasts, we are still just people, with our hopes and loves and pains and messes. Sometimes technology can help us understand our humanity a little better. In those cases, I have a second blog called "Eric the Rad" where I post my thoughts on life from a nerd's point of view. Today I am cross-posting a new entry from that blog here. It deals with the importance of a strong password, so I feel it will have value for all us tech users, but also addresses the need for positive self-talk, which has value for all of us as humans. If you are looking for the latest cool way to use tech in your class, this post may not be your cup of tea, and that's ok. I'll be back with loads of great tech integration ideas next. However, if this does resonate with you, then feel free to check out my other blog "Eric the Rad" where I have and will continue to share more things like this. Thanks!

I have never been really good at positive self-talk. And there I go again. That is a great example of how I am not very good at it.

However, I do believe in the power of self-talk, both positive and negative, to have a great impact on our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Psychology tells us that what we say aloud to ourselves really makes a difference. Negative statements can bring us down, while positive, encouraging words can build us up. It may be just bit by bit, but every bit makes an impact over time.

Historically I just have not been very successful at taking advantage of this. If anything, my self-talk is often negative, pointing out where I fell short, or forgot to do something, or let someone down, or don’t feel well, or am tired. Hearing these words from my own mouth day after day after day becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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At first when I think of positive self-talk, I can’t help but visualize Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live. I can see him sitting in front of his mirror saying “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me”. As much as I love that character, I am not sure if that approach fits my personality.

As I have said many times before, I am a nerd. So I have been trying out a technology solution to this problem.


Yep, I said passwords. Passwords are something everyone has, and probably more than one. They are also something that we have to type in often, maybe multiple times per day.

Plus it is important to have a strong password that will not be easily hacked, to improve your security. A common suggestion for this is to use a passphrase rather than a password. A passphrase is a group of words or even an entire sentence. Since it is a sentence conveying an entire thought, a passphrase can be much easier to remember. Of course you can still get creative with capital letters, numbers in place of some letters, and use of punctuation.

So I have decided to make my passwords stronger, and in the process try to make myself stronger as well.

  • 4GiveYourselfAndMoveOn!
  • BTheChangeUWant2C!
  • Stop&CTheGood2Day!
  • I*Love*MyselfAsIAm!
  • IAmGr8ful4MyLife!

There are endless possibilities for the positive passphrase you could use. The key is to choose something that builds you up, helps you heal through the pain, and grow toward your goals. Something that acknowledges your value and the value of others. Something that helps you process the past and embrace the present. It will be unique for you.

On our work domain we have to change our password every three months. Of course I can change it sooner if I want. On my Google accounts I can change them anytime I wish. The point is I am now creating a passphrase with a positive message for myself.

Now for the next three months, day after day, maybe multiple times per day, I have to type in that message. When I log into my work computer first thing in the morning. When I unlock it after lunch. When I log in on a different computer for a training. And on and on.

Each time I do this, I am reading a message I sent to myself weeks ago. I am being reminded of a powerful encouraging truth that can help me heal and move forward in my life.

And sometimes it is perfectly timed. I have had those mornings at work when life has not gone well. Maybe nobody in the cubicles around me know that I am struggling, that I feel like a failure, that Facebook just had to choose this morning to show me a picture from 9 years ago of a happier time, that I am feeling lonely, that I am anxious, that I am depressed, that I am angry.

And then I type in my password. A message from myself to myself. It reminds me to forgive, to grieve, to stop beating myself up, to find the beauty, to take one day at a time, maybe even just one step at a time. And sometimes that is exactly what I need.

cross posted at

Eric Curts is an education trainer and consultant with over 20 years' experience throughout the U.S. He is an authorized Google Education Trainer and a Google Certified Innovator. Read his blog at and follow him on Google+ and @ericcurts on Twitter.