Taking Two Words out of Your Vocabulary Can Change Your Life - Deepstash
Taking Two Words out of Your Vocabulary Can Change Your Life

Taking Two Words out of Your Vocabulary Can Change Your Life


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Taking Two Words out of Your Vocabulary Can Change Your Life

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Vocabulary enables us to interpret and to express. If you have a limited vocabulary, you will also have a limited vision and a limited future.


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Your vocabulary can lead either to success or failure

It makes sense if you think about how, without realizing it, we all use set phrases, unaware of how they shape the way we think and look at reality. If you change the way you talk about reality, you might also be able to change your life.

Bernard Roth, professor of engineering at Stanford University and academic director of the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design, wrote a book called "The Achievement Habit". It talks about different linguistic formulas that lead to either success or failure.


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The word but is an adversative conjunction. That means that it puts two ideas together, opposing each other, whether to add a detail to a statement, give it more depth, or contradict it. If we look at it from a psychological point of view, we usually use this word to justify things, put them off, or not do them.

One place we really use it a lot is in phrases like “Yes, but". Those two little words are really about self-sabotage. We make unnecessary or imaginary obstacles to get in the way of us doing anything.

Professor Roth suggests to replace those buts with the conjunction and.


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The second big recommendation professor Roth makes is to exchange the expression “I have to do” for “I want to do” When you say “I have to do” you put yourself in the realm of obligation.

That’s very discouraging. It means that you might want one thing, but you have to do something else, even though you don’t want to. So using have to starts you off in an emotionally uncomfortable place.

Bernard Roth says that if you do something, it’s never because you’re truly obligated to; you’ve chosen to. So by getting rid of the expression, you take responsibility for the life you live.


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  • Switch “I have to finish this ” for “I want to finish this"
  • Replace “I have to be patient with my partner” with “I want to be patient with my partner
  • Exchange “I have to exercise” for “I want to exercise

Every time you switch have to for want , you immediately have to replace your negative outlook with a positive one. At the same time, you’re lifting a heavy emotional burden off your back.

So that’s why you can make a huge positive change in your life if you take these words out of your daily vocabulary.


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