Motivation Monday: Language Lab

Each Monday, we're rolling out a new challenge to change the way you think, act, do, or feel. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be motivated to try something different for a week. And if you love it, keep it going!

This week, we're challenging you to take a closer look at how you speak and what kind of image that projects to the world. We all fall into a few linguistic 'bad habits', but by upping our mindfulness we can also escape them. 

Here are a few common language missteps that you may want to take a look at this week. Pick the one you're most guilty of, or try to tackle a few. When you're tempted to use a particular phrase or word, pause and opt for something more appropriate.

This is an obvious one - while salty language is more mainstream than ever, simply recognize there is a time and a place for it. In a public place or dealing with a difficult situation? Avoid the curse words - you'll only attract negative attention and possibly worsen whatever you're dealing with. At the office? As stressful or frustrating aspects of your job can be, try to keep cussing out of your daily vocabulary. Unless you're having a private, one-to-one conversation with a trusted colleague, it can quickly diminish your professionalism.

Hint: Swapping out classic curse words with gimmicky, old timey options can actually help reduce your stress and anger. Try swapping out the f-bomb with 'fudge' or another silly word and you may find yourself giggling before the word even passes your lips.

No Problem 
When someone thanks you for completing something or helping them out, saying 'no problem' diminishes what you've just accomplished. While there may be a certain level of self-deprecating good intentions in there, why not use that classic way of returning a 'thank you' instead? 'You're Welcome' has fallen out of fashion, but it's a perfectly acceptable way to acknowledge someone's gratitude.

This is more of a grammatical misstep that has become ironically commonplace. Literally is now being used to describe things that are anything but literal. Did you just tell a coworker you are 'literally going to die if you don't get lunch?' Chances are that's not true! Literally literally means something that absolutely will or may have happened. For example - "I literally almost died this weekend," is appropriate if you were in a car crash and are now in the hospital. It's not appropriate if someone tapped your bumper and you hit a pile of snow. Be wary of when and how you use this term or risk coming off a little dramatic.

It Is What It Is
Are you tempted to say this to people when faced with a problem? You may come off as dismissive or worse, lazy. There are very few things in life that can't be changed (death and taxes notwithstanding). Instead of breaking out this platitude, try rephrasing the underlying sentiment. For example: "It's unfortunate that we can't get this portion of the project done by the deadline. Instead of dwelling on that, I recommend we move forward with this interim idea instead."

Don't Take This Personally...
This is pretty much guaranteed to make something be taken personally. If you're tag teaming this phrase with a piece of advice, be wary - you don't know how the person on the receiving end of your good intentions will accept it. For example, saying 'Don't take this personally, but that dress is really not the right cut on you.' may be a well-meaning statement. But imagine how you'd feel if someone said the same thing to you? Instead, reframe the dialogue: "That colour is gorgeous. How do you feel in it? I actually spotted another dress in a similar shade that I think would look even better." 

These are just a few common language conundrums that many of us aren't as mindful of as we could be. Do you have any others? Is there a part of your daily dialogue that you cringe a little at internally? Then spend this week eradicating it. 

February 22, 2016 8 tags (show)

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