One quarter of an inch. Yesterday I watched Christina and Clara’s tennis class and the coach told Christina she needed to change the angle of her racquet by one quarter of an inch (or a couple of millimeters.) Tiny change, big impact. You usually see difference between success and failure in a myriad of small details. Applying this to your language, you can make small changes in your vocabulary for a much bigger impact. It’s still true that how you say something, who says it, how the sayer dresses are all important, but the words themselves are tools. Below I’m sharing a sneaky word that looks almost noble, but it’s usually a total energy drain.
"Words are powerful because they label, categorize and create concepts that become our thoughts." Tonya Williams. Tonya leads this fabulous coaching program called "Slim, Chic and Savvy" and her mission is about savoring each day, or as she calls it, "French-kissing life." Wordsmith Frank Luntz is another powerful champion of choosing your words carefully. It’s tempting to justify careless word choices using Shakespeare’s "a rose by any other name smells just as sweet," but you can use words to create new experiences for yourself and others. Your words can also make you feel weak, or sad, and can have the same impact on other people.
There are several words you can ditch because they don’t usually help you or anyone else: hate, can’t, have to are a few of these….but there’s one that’s especially nefarious in a subtle way. See if you can find it in the following list of useless, or even counterproductive thoughts that come to my mind at times
Laura’s useless thoughts:
- I should eat less sugar.
- People who move to this country should learn English.
- Those kids should play outside.
- ______ should not run for President.
- We should save more money.
- The school should have uniforms.
- Ruben’s prescription anti-allergy medicine should not cost $500. (Don’t worry we didn’t buy it.)
Now, I still think the world would be a better place if I were in complete control (obviously!) and enforcing all these "shoulds."
So far, no one has asked me to take control of the planet. Until that happens, thinking about things beyond my scope of influence drains my energy and puts my focus on the problems, not on the solutions.
So the next time you get get ready to "should", ask yourself if you’re willing to take action. If not, re-direct your attention back into your own garden.
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