Watch Your Language!
We all have nuances in our language, for example particular words or phrases we use repetitively. Sometimes we can't help but notice when someone repeatedly uses a particular phrase or word...sometimes it can drive us up the wall.
But have you ever thought about how we use positive and negative language? It's a nuance we often don’t recognise but can be critical in developing a positive mindset.
What comes out of your mouth matters! It can reveal your subconscious and unconscious thoughts and effect the way you think.
I’m not just talking about someone having a good moan or someone delivering an inspiring speech. This is something far more subtle. It can be as simple as a single choice of word. Understanding the difference is the first step but once you've done this, you need to swap the negative for positive.
Here are five subtle ways to change from negative to positive language and build that positive thinking and mindset.
Changing Negative Language to Positive Language
Such a small but powerful word! We are very good at telling ourselves what we can’t do. Adding the word “yet” onto the end of these type of statements completely changes the way in which we perceive them.
I can’t do maths becomes I can’t do maths yet. It opens up our minds rather than closing them. Suddenly there is the possibility that at some point in the future we will be able to do maths, we just need to find a way.
2. From "I Can't" to "I Can"
This is similar to adding yet. Rather than telling yourself what you can’t do, change your language to I can.
I can’t build a website becomes I can use a computer and I can research with the help of google. I can read and learn about a topic and I can ask for help.
You start to find solutions to problems, ways around the brick wall, rather than banging your head against it!
3. From "Why" to "How"
3. Change how to why
When we’re in a negative mindset we can get caught up in asking all kind of why questions that don’t help us in the slightest. Why has this happened to me? Why do things always go wrong for me? Why can’t I get this right?
If you catch yourself asking these type of questions, stop for a moment and ask yourself how you can turn them around into a how question. How can I ensure this doesn’t happen again? How can I learn what I need in order to do this?
This immediately puts you in control of what is happening and focuses you on finding a solution rather than staying stuck.
4. Focus on What You Want
We are great at stating what we don’t want but again this is just placing us into a negative mindset and it means others around us are more likely to respond in a negative way. I used to work as a teacher and there is a big difference between saying to students “I don’t want any interruptions or talking whilst I run through this” compared to “Listen quietly whilst I explain this to you and I will take questions at the end”.
Our subconscious is often deaf to “don’t” which means it just hears exactly what you’ve said you don’t want and that is what is often delivered! We all know that when a child is told not to do something, they instantly think about doing exactly that as it has formed an image in their mind. How much temptation do you feel when you are told not to touch something? Your hand is itching to reach out and touch that button or whatever it is!
Tell people what you want them to do instead.
5. Eliminate Have, Should, Must!
These words have obligation dripping off them! It is easy to then feel a lack of motivation and negative about the task ahead. Instead, these words can be replaced with can, will and get to do.
“Compare I have to do this report” to “I get to do this report today”. Or, “I should go to the gym tonight” to “I will go to the gym tonight”. There is immediately a more positive feel to the way you are speaking as you have changed your language from obligation to choice. We all know which we prefer!
Commit to trying out these five steps and see what a difference it makes for you. Let me know in the comments or tell me about any negative language you’ve suddenly realised you use!