Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!

While I agree with the premise…don’t take what people say to heart…I think there are many words that do hurt us.

However, those words are words that we, ourselves, use…either in speaking or thought.

In Christy Crouch’s last blog post, she mentioned that I coached her to remove 5 words from her vocabulary, and I’m going to use this space to explain my reasons for asking her to get rid of those words.  And as I don’t want to make this blog post too long, I’m also going to add a few more words to the list, in my next entry in a few days.  I’ll list the words below, and explain them next time.

This obviously isn’t just about Christy, this is about all of us.  We would all do better to remove these words.

And we’ll never permanently remove them.  Sometimes the words are actually necessary.  Simply creating the awareness as to what the words actually do will have us remove them most of the time, and make our lives the better for it.

Here are the words I asked Christy to stop saying, and the explanations:

1. Should (and Shouldn’t) – Simply put, the word should is an opinion.  In your opinion, you, or someone else, should or shouldn’t do something, say something, think something, act a certain way, etc.  And as your opinion, it’s not neccessarily true, so it causes all sorts of turmoil, pain, upset, anger and frustration.

“He should have known better!”  “She shouldn’t have done that!”

The more you listen to the little voice inside your head and what and who should or shouldn’t do or say things that you think they should or shouldn’t do, the more you will be disappointed, and the more you will upset people with your rules!

Be compassionate to people who don’t play by your rules, they don’t even know they’re playing in your game.

2. Why? – Why immediately asks for justification of past events.  When you ask someone why they did something, they automatically feel the need to justify, defend and/or support their actions.  Many times people will lie because they want to avoid your disappointment.  This is not a powerful place to come from for them.

Furthermore, if someone asks you to do something, like let’s say your coach, it’s your ego that asks why.  Your ego doesn’t want to be told what to do by anybody, especially if it’s something that you wouldn’t normally do, or feels uncomfortable, etc.  Therefore, your ego (little voice) challenges that person and asks why.

Kids do it all the time, so naturally you get the idea as to where this word/question is based.

Why can’t I stay up late?  Why do I have to clean my room?  Why can’t I have dessert?

3. How? – How is a question that is incredibly self-limiting.  Yes, you need to know how to do things.  And, at the same time, if you constantly ask how, you will find yourself never achieving your goals.  Sometimes you won’t even start until you figure out how to do something, which may never happen.

If you’re just starting out in sales, or remember when you did, you might recall the “fear of success” of actually setting appointments because you didn’t know “how” to actually do the appointment.  So, likely for some time you sabatoged yourself and didn’t try to generate appointments.

Also, how is another ego based question.  Your little voice wants to control how things will go, how they will show up, etc.  I know Napolean Hill said something to the effect of what the mind of man can conceive he can achieve, however people like Darrel Rutherford (Being the Solution) say if you can figure out how to acheive the goal you set, when you first set it, it’s way too small.

Think about it, you really don’t know where your business is going to come from.  You think that if you make X sales calls you’ll get Y sales.  So, what about the out of the blue referral?  What about the person who does multiple transactions?

You really can’t control this stuff, but you’ll try.  And to try to figure out how things are going to go or work wastes a lot of time and energy.  All of the sudden your brain will try to answer the question of how.  If you can figure it out in a minute, great.  If not, it will be the prevailing thought in your head for an incredibly long time.  And, it’s a negative thought, because your basically saying you can’t do something until you know how.  So, you won’t be doing it, while your trying to figure it out.  You’ll put up all sorts of resistance and procrastination to avoid doing it until you figure out how.  It’s a total waste for you.

4. What if? – What if is another ego question, and it’s incredibly negative based.  It’s you playing devil’s advocate.  I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never asked the question, “What if everything works out and it all goes so perfectly and we’re all so happy? Yay!”

Usually, it’s What if it doesn’t work?, What if I fail?, What if they don’t like me?, What if I get hurt?, What if I lose my money?, and so on.

Asking What If? is looking for evidence and agreement as to why things will ultimately go wrong.  Not much success, goal achievement and progress when doing that, is there?

5. Because – Because is a justification word.  It’s simply you defending your opinion, which really means nothing to anyone except yourself (see: Should/Shouldn’t).  This is a tough one to remove as so many people ask Why?.  So you will need to work on it.

Just remeber, it’s not a very powerful place to be to prove why your opinion is right.  It pisses people off.

– Also, on the subject, the word Since falls under the word because.  Many people use since as justification.

“Since I did the dishes will you take out the garbage?”  Notice the feeling of being guilted into taking out the garbage.  It’s so much more powerful to simply ask, “Would you please take out the garbage?”

****There are certain times in the NLP language patterns we teach in our What To Say and How To Say It courses that you will purposely use Because and Since in a very powerful way.

Here are the words I’m adding to the list for my next blog post:

1. Try

2. Hard

3. All

4. But

After reading this post, I’m sure you’re already grasping the reasoning behind these four words.

Until next time…

Scott Friedman