Emily Dickinson stated that she knew “nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.” It’s clear that words have power. “Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts” (Patrick Rothfuss). Proper word choice can push you in the right direction or inspire passion and motivation. At the same time, poor word choice can hinder you tremendously. Below are 4 words that people need to take out of their speech now!
Try – My boy Yoda puts it pretty simply: “Do or do not, there is no try.” Sydney Fife (played by Jason Segel in I Love You, Man) has the best definition for the word try. “Trying is having the intention to fail. You gotta scrap that word from your vocab. Say you’re gonna do it, and you will.” Truth.
Can’t – This is probably the worst word in the English language. The word literally means that someone or something is unable to or doesn’t have the ability to. In and of itself, can’t is not a bad word. Contrary to popular opinion, there are several things I currently can’t do. For example, I can’t sustain flight using only my body (I’m working on it!). But the problem with can’t is that people so often misuse the word. We use can’t to remove personal responsibility and instead place responsibility on external factors. For example, “I can’t hang out today, I have to go to work.” Not true. You have the ability to hang out with a friend but you are choosing to go to work. There is nothing wrong with this choice (in fact, it’s advisable. You don’t want to get fired). But it’s your choice, not some outside reason. You can start a business, lose weight, learn Spanish, or do any variety of things. You are choosing not to, or at the very least, choosing other priorities over them.
Um – The word is used to either convey doubt/uncertainty or fill a pause while hesitating during speech. Um brings nothing to the table. Um is also lazy. When you fill your speech with ums, you are demonstrating that you aren’t as prepared or as confident about the topic at hand. You are searching for what to say or unsure. It fills up a pause without actually accomplishing anything. Take out ums from your speech and replace it with a pause. It’s better to…[pause]…than to, um, use an um (see what I did there?). You will sound more articulate and more confident in your speech, which is always a benefit.
Someday – Ahh, the classic “someday.” We usually use someday to talk about things that we want to do, but are putting off for the time being. I want to start a business someday. I will learn Spanish someday. I want to lose weight someday. Similar to the word try, someday is all about intentions. You have the intention of doing something in the future. It’s a nice thought, but it rarely works. When you use someday, what you are really doing is putting off an important decision to an indefinite time in the future. It’s the worst form of procrastination and helps you avoid tough tasks. Instead, start now. Don’t start losing weight someday, start today. Don’t start a business someday, start immediately. And for the rare occasions when you can’t start immediately? Give yourself a definite date. Not in a couple years or months or whatever. I will do/start X on or by August 31 of this year. Give yourself a deadline and you will do it.
Take these words out of your vocabulary and you will become both a better speaker and a “doer.” Instead of inventing excuses on why you aren’t doing something, you will now take action towards the items that matter. Remember this great quote from Gandhi: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habit, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”