Words are so important. It can quite literally dictate your future.
The words and phrases we tell ourselves are records in our heads, and they can affect your definition of success. Your success is in direct correlation to what you say to yourself every day.
The following are three phrases that will completely disempower you, and you should avoid. Take notice the word “can’t” is included in all the phrases. It’s the common denominator. It is such a powerful, negative word.
1. Can’t vs. Won’t
When you are using the word “can’t” in a sentence, ask yourself this: Is it you really “can’t,” or you “won’t?” “Can’t” means you have no control; external forces are holding you back. “Won’t” gives you your power back, and it allows you to take ownership.
It all comes down to locus of control. Locus of control is how you view different areas in your life. It is the #1 indicator of whether you will succeed or fail.
Internal vs. External Locus
When you feel like everything is happening to you and have no control over anything in your life, that is called an external locus of control. When you say everything that happens in your life is because of your choices or perhaps did not make, that is called an internal locus of control. It’s a hard reality to face, but it’s a healthier way of thinking because it’s telling you that your decisions matter, thus leaving you empowered. Your choices will affect the quality of your life – for good or bad.
Things happen in life, but it’s how we choose to react and perceive things that will determine success.
2. Don’t vs. Can’t
When you say you can’t, instead of you don’t, you are left powerless. Take dieting, for example. Can you hear the difference between I can’t eat this vs. I don’t eat this food because I’m eating healthier?
It’s these subtle changes that make a difference.
Another example is spending money. I can’t buy this vs. I won’t buy this because I’m on a budget.
Recognize your phraseology.
Tip: Something that’s helped me out personally is to name your negativity. (I named mine Gertrude.) When these negative words or phrases come out of my mouth or into my head, I tell Gertrude to shut up and sit down. I’m in charge, and I want you to be too.
3. I can’t afford it vs. How can I afford it?
Example: I can’t afford a billion-dollar jet.
Maybe you couldn’t buy it right now, but don’t shut down the possibility of it. Instead of saying I can’t afford it, say HOW can I afford it. It will give you the chance to brainstorm and think of new possibilities of making new ideas and goals into reality.
How to change your negative mindset to a positive one
Catch yourself. How often are you saying these things? (HW: Count how many times you say can’t and check how many times you said it at the end of the day. Do this for a week. If you want to go the extra mile, you can track your thoughts, positive or negative, and compare both after a week.)
The following week, now that you’re aware of your negative thoughts, start to change your words actively. Instead of “can’t” say “won’t,” “don’t” instead of “can’t,” and “how can I afford it” rather than “I can’t afford it.” Do this for two weeks, and you’ll see drastic changes in your life. It won’t be easy nor comfortable, but growth is uncomfortable.
The Secret to Success
It is empowering thoughts that will transform the way you perceive and react to things. It’s about the control. First, become aware of your negative thinking and the negative phrases you use daily. Then, take an internal locus of control approach and actively choose to control your life by changing the negative records in your head to positive ones. Make subtle changes in your language and permit yourself to think of the great possibilities in your life.