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On average, us humans have approximately 50.000 thoughts a day. No wonder we feel busy, even when our hands aren’t doing anything. These random thoughts, and in particular the things you are saying to yourself, can be used in two ways:
1) They can be used to break you down and make you feel sad or down
2) They can be used to build you up and make you happy
How often did you find yourself thinking that you were not good enough, that you had now idea how to handle things, or that you thought that you were never going to learn that specific skill?
These all might seem like meaningless thoughts, but they are not.
Words matter. What you say to yourself matters. And there’s a little trick you can use to make sure that your thoughts help building you up, instead of breaking you down.
Be clear in what you want
I always felt the importance of words, but it took entering a course in Neuro Linguistic Programming to give more substance to that thought. That course taught me that even the slightest change in your wording can have great impact.
Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
~Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
How often do you find yourself ‘trying’ stuff? I am trying to lose weight, I am trying to run a 10k, I am trying to make a fortune, I am trying to set up a website, I am trying to find happiness, I am trying to get this job done.
I do this all-the-time.
I’m not sure why I do it, I think it is a combination of the fear that I won’t be able to do something and the reluctance to commit myself to actually doing it.
However, trying does not work. Trying doesn’t get you results. It only confuses your mind as to what you want, which means that you won’t get it. When it concerns something you should do, there is no try.
Difference between Trying and Doing
Tony Robbins showed a great example of this in one of his seminars. He met a woman who was struggling in her marriage and said that she ‘tried everything’ to improve her marriage, but that nothing had worked.
Tony then asked the woman to try to pick up the chair she was sitting in. She picked up the chair and turned to Tony. He said: “No, I asked you to try to pick up the chair. You picked it up. Try to pick it up” The woman picked it up again, a bit confused, and that is when Tony made the important distinction between trying and doing: you do something, or you don’t. There is no trying.
How to get from trying to doing
If you tell yourself you are trying things, you are actually giving yourself an excuse to NOT really do anything. If you are trying, you do not have to get results. After all, if you got the results, you would have been ‘doing’ instead of ‘trying’.
So next time you hear yourself say (to yourself or to someone else): ‘I’ll try to..’, correct yourself and change it into ‘I will..’ I’ve been using this technique for a while now, and I still have to correct myself all the time, but it does give a great energy to say that you are going to do stuff, instead of trying. It motivates to actually do things.
If you are a believer in getting things out there and manifesting what you want, you should know that ‘trying’ is never an option. If you’re not clear in what you want, you will not get it. If you say you want to try to lose weight, that is what you will get: an attempt at losing weight. Will it relieve you of any of the excess weight you have been carrying around? Certainly not. But you did get what you asked for: a try.
If you want to improve both your thoughts and your communication with others, it is a great idea to avoid negatives as much as possible. Examples of these negatives are:
cannot, do not, refuse, unable to, impossible
Think about what you say. Imagine yourself getting ready for a night in your PJ’s, binge-watching that Netflix series that you just love. What if someone calls you to go do something that you do not particularly want to do.
I often find myself making excuses why I really cannot do that thing. When all I should say is: Thank you for the offer, but I have plans for tonight. Not that I don’t want to do it, not that I cannot do it, but that I have made other plans.
When I was writing this, I actually thought about how empowering it would be just to say: I don’t want to do this. And it is. But it also includes a negative. And that negative may not affect my thoughts – since this would be empowering for me – but it will affect the thoughts of the person I am speaking to.
I would love to see what impact it avoiding negatives would have on my communication, both to myself and to others. And even better: I would love to train myself in not using negatives. That is why I just marked my hand with a small ‘o’. Every time I see this, I will be reminded of this challenge (yes, I’ll make a new one after taking a shower).
My pledge: Today, I will only use positive words. One day at a time.