Speaking doesn’t only affect how others perceive you; it also has the potential to shape your behavior.
Swapping of one word for another could make a lot of difference in how you approach your goals.
That’s According to academic director of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the d.school; Bernard Roth, who is also a professor of engineering at Stanford.
In his new book, “The Achievement Habit,” Roth suggests several linguistic tweaks that can make you more successful. Here are two of the easiest:
1. Swap ‘but’ for ‘and.’
You might be tempted to say, “I want to go to the movies, but I have work to do.”
Instead, Roth suggests saying, “I want to go to the movies, and I have work to do.”
He writes: “When you use the word but, you create a conflict (and sometimes a reason) for yourself that does not exist.” In other words, it’s possible to go to the movies as well as do your work — you just need to find a solution.
Meanwhile, when you use the word and, “your brain gets to consider how it can deal with both parts of the sentence,” Roth writes. Maybe you’ll see a shorter movie; maybe you’ll delegate some of your work.
2. Swap ‘have to’ for ‘want to.’
Roth recommends a simple exercise: The next few times you say “I have to” in your mind, change has to want.
“This exercise is very effective in getting people to realize that what they do in their lives — even the things they find unpleasant — are in fact what they have chosen,” he says.
For example, one of Roth’s students felt he had to take the math courses required for his graduate program, even though he hated them. At some point after completing the exercise, he realized that he did want to take the classes because the benefit of completing the requirement outweighed the discomfort of sitting through classes he didn’t enjoy.
Both of these tweaks are based on critical components of a problem-solving strategy known as “design thinking.” When you apply this procedure, you try to challenge your automatic thinking and see things as they are.
When you experiment it in the different language, you may realize, this problem is not that hard to resolve as it seems, and you have more control over your life than you think you have.