Ways to distinguish yourself #130 Watch your daily vocabulary

Ways to distinguish yourself #130 Watch your daily vocabulary

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 21 May 2006, 9:21 PM – 5 Comments

It is easy to NOT watch your daily vocabulary – the words that you use in your daily interaction with your family, friends, colleagues and anybody else for that matter. Everyone around you may be callously using words and sentences that are inappropriate but generally accepted. Here are some examples:

* pain in the neck
* slit my throat
* a real pain

I can go on but you get the point. We use these words and sentences as if they don’t have any effect on our body and future thinking. Wrong! It has been long proven that there are serious side effects of using these and other negative terms in our daily life. Just because people around you are using them does not get you a license to follow. Same like any bad habit (think smoking, alcohol, gambling..) You can always find justification to indulge in a bad habit. But should you?

In one of my favorite books –  “Passion, Profit and Power” (by Marshall Sylver) there is a section where Sylver asks us to make some simple changes to our vocabulary. Here are a couple of words that he asks us to change:

1. Replace “If” with “When”:
If denotes doubt. When removes doubt and pushes us to think about a plan to make it happen

2. Replace “But” with “And”:
But negates everything behind that word. And is more “accepting.”

I am not saying that by changing your daily vocabulary you will succeed faster (Personally, I think you will) but by having a bad daily vocabulary you can almost be sure that you are setting up your own roadblocks on your path to success.

Remember – it does not take a lot of effort to use bad and/or inappropriate language. It may even make you look cool. Last time I talked about it, one seminar participant challenged me saying that he has seen many successful people using inappropriate language. I don’t want to argue on such items. Since there is no scientific study on these things as related to success, it is hard to prove anything. If I say it is plain common sense, I know I will offend many people. So lets just leave it at that :)

Update May 23: Scott Ginsberg follows up with an interesting post related to this –
On Using Cool Words. Take a look!


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5 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on May 22nd, 2006

Excellent Post!! One little point that I would like to add is that additionally, usage of bad vocabulary in daily language can make or spoil relationships. We need to extremely conscious of the language we use during personal conversations too even with say relatives or close friends. A wrong phrase here and there could hurt the other side and hence cost the relationship too…

Anonymous  on May 23rd, 2006

Amazing observation and very well put!

Its so true that many people just try to imitate so called “fashion” of using these bad phrases from their colleagues or friends as it may sound “cool”. But as you mentioned, avoiding it can make a lot difference! Gr8 post once again.

Anonymous  on May 23rd, 2006

Thanks KK and Aditya. Both of you have a great week ahead.



Anonymous  on May 23rd, 2006

Excellent article, as are all of yours! My favorite vocabulary exchange is replacing the word ‘problem’ with ‘challenge’. A problem is something that happens to me, whereas a challenge is where I happen to it. A challenge creates excitement, whereas a problem creates (a degree of) despair. Makes a world of difference on how I approach even the largest of roadblocks.

Anonymous  on May 31st, 2006

Hi Astaara,

Thanks for introducing the word ‘challenge’. I just liked instantaneously. I will start using it.

Thanks Rajesh for this amazing blog. I am one of Tom Peter’s long time reader but unfortunately I came to know about you a little later through Tom’s blog.

Thanks again, keep it up.


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