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7 Things Not to Say, and 7 Things to Start Saying

7 Things Not to Say, and 7 Things to Start Saying

Are you aware just how much impact the words you use on a daily basis have on your mood and your life in general?

Have you noticed the type of language you use? Not just verbally, but within your inner thoughts as well?

Language is a very powerful tool when it comes to mood control—both for ourselves and for those around us. It really can make the difference between a happy day and a stressful day, and below, I’ll give you some examples at to why this is.

As with many things, the first step is awareness; most people are blissfully unaware of how they speak, both internally and externally, so make a start by paying extra attention to what you’re saying both mentally, and aloud. Consider whether you’re using positive language or negative language. Are you really aware of exactly what you’re saying and how you’re phrasing your words?

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I’ve spent some time studying quantum linguistics, and there are a few common phrases that people use without realising just how negative they are. And when we think negatively, guess what? The negative thoughts spiral into negative actions, which then tun into real-life situations and problems. If we can nip those negative thoughts in the bud, we can save ourselves a whole lot of pain in the long run.

Here are 7 useless phrases to leave behind, and 7 useful phrases to start saying so you can start using language to your advantage!

7 Things to Avoid Saying

1. “I can’t…”

“Can’t” is a debilitating word that puts up a barrier between you and your goals—it’s like you’ve almost failed before you’ve begun. Someone very wise once said to me that there’s no such word as “can’t”. That’s a great way to look at things; give yourself a chance for success by ditching the word completely.

2. “I’ll try”

Have you ever “tried” to stand up. Try it now. Try to stand up. Did you do it? No, because it’s not possible to “try” and do something. When we say “I’ll try”, what we’re really saying is that we’re not ready to commit. As Yoda from Star Wars once said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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3. “I wish I didn’t have to…”

Otherwise known as moaning. No one likes to listen to someone groan on, and plus, it’s pointless to do so. If you don’t like something, then take action and change your situation. Otherwise, you might as well get on with life with a smile on your face!

4. “I should…”

The word “should” is inherently negative. “Should” implies a lose: lose situation and it’s just not conducive to positive outcomes in life. It’s a form of criticism, and it’s best left out of your everyday language. Instead of beating yourself up for what you should have done, focus on what you have the power to change.

5. “I need…”

How often do you proclaim a “need” for something, versus how often you genuinely need it? The word “need” creates an unhealthy dependency. The next time you hear yourself say this, have a re-think to determine if you really need what you’re talking about. If you don’t, then let go and minimize any negativity.

6. Pessimistic greetings like “Not bad” or “could be worse.”

I hear this all the time! So many people feel the need to buy into these common phrases without even thinking about what they are saying. They are so negative! Why not say something positive, or at least be honest? (There’s nothing worse than saying you’re “great” all the time if that’s not how you really feel.)

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7. “Never.”

The word “never” creates immediate restrictions on your life, and when we say that word, it’s very rarely an accurate reflection of the choices that are available to us. It closes our mind to solutions and creates unnecessary limits. Decide today to never say never again!

7 Things to Start Saying

1. “YES!”

Entrepreneur Richard Branson claims that making a conscious decision to say “yes” to more things is one of his secrets for success. Next time your natural instinct is to say no, try saying yes instead. Open your mind to a whole new world of possibilities and watch as your life suddenly becomes much more interesting.

2. “I’m lucky / grateful…”

It’s been proven that gratitude can relieve symptoms of depression and unhappiness. Before I go to sleep, I like to remind myself of 3 things each day that I’m grateful for, or lucky to have in my life. This is a nice way to go to bed with positive thoughts instead of being kept awake by worries or fears.

3. “I Will.”

This is a great replacement for “I’ll try”. Consider for a moment how much more powerful the words “I will” are, compared to “I’ll try”. By saying “I will”, you’re really committing to something and your goals suddenly feel possible. Don’t worry too much about whether you actually reach the goals or not—this is about you setting yourself up for success, not failure.

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4. “What if?”

This is a great alternative to words like “never” or “impossible”. Instead of limiting us, the phrase “what if?” creates possibility. It encourages solution-oriented thinking, which helps us to solve problems. The next time you feel as though a situation is hopeless, try asking yourself “what if?” and see what solutions pop up.

5. Positive Greetings such as “I’m well.”

Instead of saying “not bad” or “could be worse” when someone asks you how you are, try a simple “I’m well, thankyou” instead. Alternately, if you’re not having a great day, be honest but with a positive spin—“I’m not having the best day but I’m sure tomorrow will be better.”

6. Positive instructions such as “Remember to…”

If I said to you “Don’t think about a pink elephant” right now what did you just think of?  A pink elephant, right? So we’re actually thinking about the very thing we want to avoid. This can be really dangerous when we use instructions such as “don’t forget to pay the bills today” because all our brain hears is “forget to pay the bills!” If we flip our language so it’s positive, however, we get much better results. If you want to remember something, then tell yourself just that, instead of what you don’t want to do.

7. “Things could be worse…”

The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try re-framing your problem by comparing it to something worse. This is a great way to minimise the size of your problems. When we put things into context, we can gain perspective and suddenly our problems don’t feel as bad.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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