What is your VERB?

descartesweb.jpg“Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”) is the philosophical statement first delcared by René Descartes, which soon became one of the most foundational elements in Western philosophy.

 According to Wikipedia, the meaning of the phrase is that if someone wonders if he or she exists, that is in and of itself proof of existance..

All philosophy aside, in my view Descartes’ “Verb” was to “Think” and “thinking” is how Descartes defined his existance … it’s what he did to define himself.

During the past year, I’ve asked thousands of my students and colleagues this same question (“What is your Verb?”) and many of the answers I’ve heard have astonished me.

For instance, my literary agent Bonnie Solow says her verb is: “Give.”  She “gives” therefore she is.

One of my smartest Internet marketing colleagues and my good friend  Eben Pagan, told me his verb was: “Evolve.”  Based on this principle then, Eben’s personal and professional life is then defined by how much he “evolves.”

Learning Annex top producing speaker and colleage, Raymond Aaron admitted to me (in a recent limo ride back from the airport) that his verb was undeniably – “Play.”  “I PLAY, therefore I am,” he declared with a gleaming smile.

In my view, people are defined by what they “do” (their verb), not by who they are (their noun).

One of the most destructive humans who ever lived, Adolf Hitler, would have chosen a different fate for himself and the rest of the world if his verb was “Paint” … “I paint, therefore I am” … instead of “I conquer, therefore I am.”

Side Note: To fullfil his dream, Adolf Hitler in 1909 moved to Vienna where the Academy of Arts was located. To his own surprise he failed to get admission. Within a year he was living in homeless shelters and eating at charity soup-kitchens.

As for me, my verb is: “Improve.”  “I improve, therefore I am” is clearly my reason for existance at this point in my life.

My wife Aimee knows it. My kids know it. My students know it, as do my colleagues and mentors.  My “verb” may change in the future, but what defines me right now is to “improve.”  (I think Tiger Woods has a similar Verb).

What about you?  What’s your Verb?

Click here to scan a list of 104 verb that will stir your mental juices so you can come up with the Verb that’s most fitting for how you define yourself at this moment.  Is it: “Build” or “Solve” or “Discover” or “Create” or “Love” or “Listen” or “Grow” or “Explore?”

Whatever your Verb may be, it’s important to think it and feel it daily because your Verb ultimately defines you.

At my Teleseminar Secrets Reunion in 2008, I asked all of my students in the audience what their Verbs were and then had them write on their name badges for the rest of the world to see.

Based on the feedback I got from this brief 20-minute exercise, it was the single most powerful workshop session during the seminar, according to the feedback forms. That’s why I want you to think about what your Verb is right now.

Here’s your simple formula:  “I <Your Verb>, therefore I am.”

Just fill in the blank and live into your Verb so you can benefit your personal and professional life.

R. Buckminster Fuller wrote in book, I Seem To Be Verb: “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am.  I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun.  I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the Universe.”

No truer words were ever written.  Your life is defined by your Verb. Change your Verb and your life will change.



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About Alex Mandossian


  1. […] Alex Mandossian is one of my favorite teachers.  Recently he asked readers of his blog and students “What is your verb? “  It generated a very interesting response from all of us and got me thinking about ‘Conscious Breastfeeding’ as a verb. […]