I like language – the power of words should not be underestimated. Even in this technology driven age, stories are still magical and while our children may prefer an e-book to a dog-eared paperback – they still love stories.
This is good news; storytelling is important. It enhances the development of children’s imagination, vocabulary, and their view of themselves and the world around them. With this in mind doesn’t it highlight how aware we should be of the content of the stories we tell? Going even further …… the actual words we use to tell these stories?
We often do not pay attention to the words we use when we talk to people. We become complacent and get used to using certain words in certain situations. Unfortunately such complacency means we can say words without giving much attention to their impact – the impact on ourselves as much as other people.
Words create feelings – whether we are conscious of this or not.
I believe this so passionately that there are words I simply refuse to use in my vocabulary. I consider these words toxic and not in any way conducive to a rich and fulfilling life.
My top toxic word is TRY. I particularly dislike this word because it has an unconsciously negative effect when it is used – it is almost like it gives a silent message of “don’t bother”.
I can guarantee if you invite someone to an event and they say they will ‘try’ and make it, they simply won’t turn up and they probably never had an intention to either.
When you ask someone to do something and they say they will ‘try’, it’s almost a given that they won’t do it.
When you hear someone say they will try to do something, it doesn’t fill you with confidence does it?
Try simply implies that they won’t succeed and in that way we don’t expect them to succeed either!
When the word try is used, there is no doing in that! Do or do not – there is no TRY in that.
It is even worse when we use it and think we are helping people. To the child that is struggling to do their homework: “Just try your best…” it doesn’t even sound as if you think the child can do the work. It seems to give an instruction to just do the least amount possible. Where is the encouragement in that?
These days it seems that everyone is just trying – there is no drive or determination in this.
I’d like to invite you to consider the words that you are using – are they helpful? Do they create the right intention and feeling?
Instead of using the word TRY, replace it with WILL.
Not “I’ll try and do it” rather “I will do it” or even “I won’t do it”. One or the other – but don’t try. Even if you say, “I won’t” it still sounds far more committed and positive than “I’ll try”.
These small details have a big impact on what and how we communicate and the influence this has on ourselves and others.
So, are you going to try and do your best to make these changes or will you just do it and make a difference?