I think we vastly underestimate the impact of what habitually comes out our mouths. The thoughts that we have become habits just as much as the things that we do. And the things that we say, even flippantly or unconsciously, create our thoughts.
Here are five things that I almost never say:
- I’m busy. It seems to have become the standard answer to “how are you” for many of us. I’m busy, flat out, things are crazy. Almost like a badge of honour. And while my life is pretty full, I’d rather navigate it in a calm, controlled way than a frantic, stressed, “busy” way.
- I hate (fill in the blank). Some people seem to hate a lot of stuff. I’d rather not be one of those people. There is not much that I actually hate, so I’ll say what I don’t like, or what annoys me, but not that I hate something. I don’t want to fill my brain with hate.
- I can’t afford it. That’s hardly ever true. If I needed $50k to bail my brother out of jail I’d get it (although I’d rather not, so Ben, try not to get caught). So while there are lots of things I choose not to spend money on, it’s not because I can’t afford it. I don’t want to train my unconscious into scarcity or poverty.
- I’m so stupid (or any version of that). I’m amazed at how much we talk ourselves down. I think whenever we do, part of us believes it, and we create what we’re talking about. Someone who is always saying what a klutz they are will keep being one.
- I have to… This one’s a bit more subtle. But whenever I say I have to do something, rather than I’m choosing to do something, I’m putting the control of my life outside of myself. And I am more effective when I am living in the positive delusion that I am 100% responsible for what happens in my world.
Not saying this stuff is partly a game I play with myself. It helps me be more conscious of what I say, helps my speaking and my communication generally. And if I think these things make a difference, then they probably will just because I think they will (like a self-fulfilling prophecy).
And there is some science behind it. When I practice the same aikido throw 1,000 times, the neural pathway for that throw becomes reinforced, and it becomes automatic. The same happens when we say the same thing 1,000 times, that neural pathway becomes reinforced, and the thought becomes automatic. And I don’t want these five neural pathways to get reinforced, and these thoughts to become habits.
What don’t you ever say? Or what are you going to stop saying? Love to hear your thoughts – you can leave them below.