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The words one uses are critical to making a good first impression. Just like body language, the vocabulary you use can send signals to those around you about your confidence, leadership and attitude.
According to Stanford professor Bernard Roth in his new book, The Achievement Habit, using the right language could impact how successful you are. The professor of engineering and the academic director of Stanford’s Institute of Design says by changing two simple phrases that you use every day could impact how you are perceived and in turn how you achieve your goals.
1. Swapping “but” for “and”
In his book Roth gives the following example; “I want to go to the movies, but I have work to do,” he suggests changing the way you speak to say, “I want to go to the movies and I have work to do,” instead.
The reason according to Roth, “When you use the word ‘but’, you create a conflict (and sometimes a reason) for yourself that does not really exist.” By using ‘and’, “your brain gets to consider how it can deal with both parts of the sentence”. This change in mentally means taking away barriers for yourself. If you replace ‘but’ with ‘and’, you are telling yourself you can do both, you just need to work out a solution
2. Swapping ‘have to’ for ‘want to’
We all have things we think we “have” to do but in fact, Roth argues even the things we dislike are choices. By changing the words “have to” to “want to” can completely alter your mindset, improve productivity and how you approach life. This positivity will ultimately lead to success in reaching your goals. “This exercise is very effective in getting people to realise that what they do in their lives — even the things they find unpleasant — are in fact what they have chosen,” says Roth.
These tweaks in behaviour are based on a component of a problem-solving strategy known as “design thinking.” The idea is to challenge your initial thinking to help you see and solve problems more easily. By doing this your problems become more manageable and you realise you have more control over your life than what you initially thought.
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