Have You Listened to Yourself Recently?


One of the things I hear people say all too often is “I need to…” and when I ask how that makes them feel there’s often a look of confusion followed by a slightly embarrassed look as they realise that using language such as ‘I need to…’ or ‘I must…’ or ‘I should…’ really isn’t helpful and certainly isn’t inspiring…

And what about when we say that we’ll ‘chase something or someone up about…’ because what happens when something or someone is chased? They run away don’t they? Because when something is chased it runs…

So how can we say things differently so isn’t an instruction and will encourage action as opposed to reaction? What if we said things like…

  • ‘It would be really helpful if you could…’ Immediately that’s changing the emphasis; you are asking for help and that puts a completely different perspective on something.
  • And if we were to say ‘It would be really helpful if you could… because…’ there’s an even greater impact because we love to be given reasons why we should do something even if the reason isn’t really that important. It’s all about how we hear things and how our brain responds to them.
  • And instead of ‘you should…’ try using ‘have you thought about…’ it’s giving the person an option to think about what you’ve suggested and weigh up the pros and cons (which only takes a few nanoseconds) and then it can lead to a discussion that’s going to be more valuable and more effective than saying ‘you must’ or ‘you have to’ or ‘you should’ isn’t it?
  • And what about when talking to our self? Wouldn’t it better to so ‘I am going to…’ as opposed to ‘I need do…’ I’m going to has action and a commitment to it.
  • And if you look at your ‘do list’… you know that long one you keep adding to, as opposed to your ‘action list’ used on a daily basis… many of the items were added because you thought you ‘needed’ to do them not because you were inspired to take the action. So if that’s the case then cross them off and only add them to your ‘action list’ when you’re inspired to do them.
Yes, of course there are things that have serious implications if we don’t do them and maybe they’ll never inspire us but guess what there are people who’d love to do them for you so you can do what inspires you instead.

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