For a long time studies have shown how our use of language can affect how we feel about ourselves, using positive mantras for instance can have a beneficial effect on our wellbeing. Now, a professor at Stanford University in America, has found that using the right language can actually make us more successful, reports the Independent.
Bernard Roth, a professor of engineering at Stanford and the academic director of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the d.school, has written a book, “The Achievement Habit,” in which he lists a number of linguistic tweaks that can be made to our vocabulary to help us more easily reach our goals.
Two of the simplest switches include replacing ‘but’ for ‘and,’ and swapping ‘have to’ for ‘want to.’
To demonstrate how the first switch works, Roth lists the example, “I want to go to the movies but I have work to do,” and suggests we replace the phrase with, “I want to go to the movies and I have work to do.”
Why? Because, according to Roth, “When you use the word ‘but’, you create a conflict (and sometimes a reason) for yourself that does not really exist.” If you replace ‘but’ with ‘and’, you are telling yourself you can do both, you just need to work out how.
In the case of swapping ‘have to’ with ‘want to’, Roth explains, “This exercise is very effective in getting people to realise that what they do in their lives – even the things they find unpleasant – are in fact what they have chosen.”
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A simple, “I want to go to work today,” instead of “I have to go to work today,” is guaranteed to put you in a better frame of mind to start your working day.
Roth’s theories are based on a problem-solving strategy known as ‘Design Thinking,’ where you challenge your automatic thinking in order to see things more clearly. The result is likely to be that a problem isn’t as unsolvable as it seems, and that you have more control over your life than you might have thought