Do This One Tweak Right Now to Improve Your Positivity!

Use Only Positive Words

Here at ManSpirational, I am a big believer of making small tweaks to effect big changes. After all, big changes were often insurmountable to me, the biggest question being how to even get started. When setting goals, it helps to be specific, because specificity helps you to hone in on the steps required and necessary to complete the goals. The other difficult thing about big goals is the lack of experience often scares you away before you ever get started. So, these two things alone—the lack of specificity that is often a result of inexperience and lack of knowledge—cause many people to fail long before they ever get started. So, I am a fan of making incremental changes, changes that when viewed over the long run are as big as the big change we first wanted to effect.

My suggestive tweak is quite simple: Exclude all negativity in your everyday conversation. When someone asks if you would like some milk, instead of saying, “No,” say, “I’ll pass.”

When your friendly neighborhood grocer asks if you’d like to donate a dollar to some charitable organization, answer “I already did”, if you really already did. Otherwise, you can say, “I’ll pass.”

The ultimate goal here is to avoid the use of negative words like these

  • No, didn’t, don’t, not, negative, nay,
  • Insufficient, insignificant, inferior, inadequate, incorrect
  • Decline, without

Set yourself a goal and try this for just a day.

You will find this is a lot harder than it actually sounds! In fact, Americans are by far the most negative people in the world, its colloquialism rife with negativity. For example, if someone asks what you would like to have for dinner, the easy way out is to answer, “I don’t know.” That way, you avoid having to explain yourself, especially if you are in a bad mood. At a more subconscious level, you are avoiding having to make a decision about what you would actually want for dinner.

Think about this from a self-improvement stand-point. The use of negative words in effect removes the impetus and the initiative from you having to take action.

  • Have a lousy life? I don’t know what to do about it!
  • Have an annoying co-worker? I don’t know what his problem is.
  • Have parents that are demanding and commandeering? I’m don’t know if I can ever stand up to them.
  • What’s wrong with this computer/phone/pen/etc? I don’t know.
  • Why didn’t I get the job!

You see what the problem is? By the very use of this language, you are avoiding taking action to figure out a solution to the problem. You have effectively capitulated control of your own life, relegating it in the hands of others. In a word, you have the victim mentality.

Have a lousy life? What if I told you it was your choice to have a lousy life? Sometimes, you may think the only way to answer is with a resounding, “No.” or “I don’t know.” But there are always alternative phrases, such as the following

  • Darned if I know
  • Search me
  • I wish I knew

I prefer the last two over the first (Darned if I know), for the plain reason that the last two responses force you to start looking for answers rather than give up and assign blame.

In carrying out this exercise, you will find quickly that you will actually have to start thinking of the reasons behind your response, in effect having to explain why you answered the way you did.

Saying “No” is easily. Having to think of the reasons behind your responses is a lot harder.

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  1. I’m going to try this all day! One of the exercises I just started is to make sure that I answer every compliment with “thank you” instead of an explanation on why the compliment wasn’t really anything I did (I love your hair . . . Oh, thanks, my hairstylist did it vs. Thank you, I appreciate the compliment. OR – great presentation . . . I wasn’t sure if the content would be perfect for this audience vs. thank you, I put a lot of thought into this, I appreciate that you noticed.) I’m looking forward to the positive changes!

    • I agree with you that the best way to accept a compliment is to simply say, “Thank you,” rather than undermining it with an explanation of sorts. Saying any more than that may also introduce doubt to the compliment-giver about his initial impressions on your abilities. 🙂

  2. Katie Clark says:

    Interesting post. On the one hand, I agree with you that negativity breeds negativity and that being positive, you really can make a big difference. On the other hand though, I think that there are situations we cannot influence simply by being positive and it would be unrealistic and unhelpful to suggest this is the case. Still, as you say, it’s all about incremental changes and we all should do what we can to be positive!

  3. I could do with a bit of this right now.

  4. I’ve long written about the power of negative words, because the words we use can influence our attitudes, which influence our actions, which influence our results.
    Thanks for the great reminder about a powerful force, and a force that we can control!

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