Don’t Say Stupid Things
I’ve been thinking a lot about the words that we use every day. Most often we speak without too much thought. Others talk to us, and we respond intuitively, often letting lose the first words that come to mind.
One thing that many people don’t think about are the types of vocabulary that they use. I know that I didn’t consider it a factor until relatively recently.
For example, someone with an ‘optimistic’ mindset might use words like “I can”, “It’s okay”, or “There’s always next time”. Whereas someone with a, shall we say, less optimistic mindset might use words such as “It’s too hard,” “The time just wasn’t right”, or “It wasn’t meant to be”.
The difference between the two is that one leaves room for possibility. Te other cleanly shuts it out, albeit in a rather innocuous fashion.
What brought this up was noticing how I approached my business now, versus how I did about a year ago. Sad to say, I’m not currently a millionaire, and have had to get part-time jobs to pay the bills when only a year ago I was fully self-employed and not so subtly telling everyone around me. It was a big deal for me; no one in my family before had done it, so I felt pretty accomplished.
When times got rough, I remember clearly the excuses that I would use to justify what was happening. The words, “The time wasn’t right” still ring in my memory. The time, as it turns out, was never really “right”. Something was always happening that would offset timing. “It’s too hard,” almost became a mantra when a financial hurdle would show up.
I had slowly built up a habit of subterfuge; I’d hit a success and intentionally keep myself from getting too excited so that I’d be “realistic” in my expectations. You never know when something bad could happen.
Well, you never know when something good will happen either. I’m hesitant to say that they’re two sides to the same coin, but it honestly is a bit of a cliche. The coin being life and all the events that happen, and the sides simply being our reactions to them.
And there’s more goodness too. The stupid and not so stupid things we say don’t only affect us. They’re words. Our words consist of our thoughts and feelings, by speaking them you are essentially making them real and measurable.
Because of that, they are then contagious. It’s not that people will only adopt the words we use if they hear them enough, but they can adopt the mindset that comes with them.
What you say can and does impact those around you. You can be realistic, and be upbeat. It’s just as easy to be a dreamer, and also be pessimistic.
I was a pessimistic dreamer, subtly yet swiftly snuffing out dreams with the same vigor it took to dream them up in the first place. That would explain the mixed reactions I’d get from friends and family. People would be inspired by dreams I’d have, and then be sympathetic once they ran dry.
It was a cycle that I never noticed, much less tried to break. Now looking back, I didn’t make a conscious effort to change the words that I’d used. Others around me influenced my internal vocabulary over months of what was a conscious effort to be around people who could affect me in a positive way.
The takeaway from all this? Know that the words you tell yourself, both aloud and in your head voice, can and will impact your quality of life. If there are other people in your life aside from yourself (which there likely are), it can almost certainly affect them as well. So don’t say stupid things.