(This post first appeared on LinkedIn)
A few nights ago I was in a teashop with a friend and we were enjoying some delightful Shui Xian, (pronounced: shway she n) a famous type of tea that is grown in a picturesque area not far from where I stay in Fujian Province China.
As we were sitting there my friend turned to me and said: “I can’t sleep at night. It’s been going on for two months, every night I go to bed and lie there not sleeping and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
I looked at him and replied: “Do you just realise you said three negatives in those two short sentences? ‘Can’t’, ‘lie there not sleeping’ and ‘nothing I can do’, If you keep thinking like that you’ll be programming yourself not to sleep.
And therein lies a problem, the negative thoughts and words we use continually have an insidious effect. They really do program your thinking, and not for the good either.
That’s why I always say to people:
“Have You Ever Listened To What You Think?”
And seriously, I mean it…
You see, how you think and the words you choose when you have those inner conversations with yourself as well as talk with others play a tremendous role in your life.
Unfortunately a lot of the words we choose are negative and the subconscious picks up on them to program us in a negative way.
Take the all too common expressions: “I can’t xxxxx” or “It’s too difficult…”, for example. These are often followed by “because…” which further sets us up for failure and not doing something.
You probably use them yourself quite often. And yet the more you use them the more your subconscious picks up on the underlying message of “can’t or “too difficult”.
Soon it builds this negativity into your daily life until you find it less easy to do things.
“But…” - I hear you say…
Another favourite word is “but”… Just think about how often you use it. When you do you are usually giving yourself an escape route from doing something.
Do the phrases “I wanted to get up early but it was so nice and warm in bed…” Or “I need to finish some work but there is a good movie on the TV” sound familiar?
They should because we use them, and others like them, so frequently. In fact they are standard in many people’s vocabulary… And yet they are so counter productive. Use them too often and soon you will excuse yourself from doing anything!
So Cut It Out!
No more ‘buts’… And cut out all the other negative things you say and think about yourself and others.
Easy to say right?
And so easy to do when you listen to what you think. So why not make a point of cutting all the negative words from your life?
Monitor your thoughts and pay attention to what you say. Stop the negative words dead in their tracks and rephrase what you were going to say.
And here’s a thing, when you catch yourself thinking negatively don’t put a lot of focus on, just say something like; “Oh here’s that old rascal negativity again, I don’t want anything to do with you. Bye, Bye.”
Instead of saying “I can’t get up today because…” think of all the success you are going to attract as you follow your plan – you did make a plan for your day today didn’t you?
Well, we can talk about that in another post…
It May Help to Ask Someone to Monitor Your Words
Sometimes you may not be aware of how often you use negative words when you speak so ask someone to listen and point things out. You could ask a close friend or family member and, of course, you could also contact me, I am a good listener and trained to help you with your strategic personal growth.