We’re often careless with our words, which is dangerous, because some of them are so laden with negative meanings that cause great harm without our realizing it. Recently I began a discussion of such words,
Words That Matter Part 3
Words That Matter Part 2
Words That Really Matter
and now we’ll continue with another one:
These words are part of the words italicized above. We have a tendency to think in the negative:
“No, I don’t think we could do that.”
“No, I don’t know.”
“No, what I think is . . .”
It is a simple truth that pain tends to be more memorable than most instances of pleasure. The negative effect of being hit in the face with a shovel is greater than the positive effect of almost any moment of kindness. So we tend to avoid pain with greater diligence than we pursue positive conditions.
How? We say “No” to risk. We say “No” when asked if we know the answer to a question. When the teacher of a class asks if anybody knows the answer to a question, what percentage of students raise their hand? In most cases, the number is quite small—or zero—while the rest of the class says “No” with their silence and their hands in their laps.
But “No” is infectious. It fills us with a negativity that stops our progress and often spreads to the people around us. We simply need to be aware of how often we use it and consider replacing it with attitudes more conducive to the accomplishments and happiness we desire:
“Sure, be happy to.”
“Yes, I see what you mean. That is a new thought to me.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
“I’ll do my best, and if I have any difficulty, I’ll ask for help.”
In future blogs we’ll discuss more words that have a much greater negative effect than we realize or intend.