Words are powerful tools, but we are so used to letting them fly out of our mouths without thinking that we do not always consider their deeper implications.
Many people around you do actually listen to what you say, and if you constantly talk like a loser – someone who isn’t willing to put in the time or effort or take the risks necessary to be successful in their careers or in life – people will stop following your lead.
The question is this: do you want to be a loser … or a winner?
Here are seven common phrases many of us say often even though we don’t realize it, and how you can turn that negative attitude around.
1. “It’s not fair.”
When things don’t go our way, it’s basically human nature to automatically complain about it. Which is healthy, but not at all actionable. Sure, not getting that job you wanted might feel unfair. You’re going to have to get over it, though.
What to say instead: Things happen. Life isn’t fair. You can’t blame all your problems on life’s unfairness, though. Expressing how unfair things are doesn’t actually solve anything. Instead, take a different approach to the situation. Say, “Wow, it’s unfortunate things turned out this way, but I’ll find a way to work around it.”
2. “That’s impossible.”
It has never been done before. It’s not the way things work. Whatever your reason, your intentions are clear: it’s an unfamiliar obstacle and you are not willing to take steps to deal with it. Saying something cannot be done, however, is both unproductive and, honestly, flat-out wrong.
What to say instead: When something seems impossible to you, what you are actually doing is recognizing that something is more challenging than you might expect. Don’t be the person who approaches a challenge already convinced it isn’t conquerable. Instead, come at it with the mindset that there is a way to overcome any obstacle. “This will be a challenge, but let’s give it a try.”
3. “I don’t have time for that.”
There are only so many hours in a day, and when things start piling up, the absolute last thing you want is to be presented with something you didn’t originally anticipate having to deal with. Brushing it off and making excuses, unfortunately, isn’t the best way to handle this.
What to say instead: You aren’t the only one who’s busy, and let’s be honest: you probably have a lot more time than you think you do. Losers use time as an excuse when they don’t want to put in a little extra effort. Winners jump right into the opportunity to help out. “Give me a deadline and I’ll have it to you as soon as possible” is a great way to respond to requests.
4. “That’s not part of my job description.”
We have all been here. Someone assigns us a task we didn’t sign up for, which can be both intimidating and seemingly disrespectful. In some situations, this is actually a compliment: you’ve shown you are a hard worker, so your boss or co-workers look to you for help with extra tasks. It’s still not an easy adjustment.
What to say instead: Be clear about your position and what you are and aren’t capable of handling. It’s fine to be willing to learn a new skill, but if it’s going to take you longer than necessary because you don’t have the training, be honest. Asking, “Could you give me a quick walkthrough?” or “Can I watch how Sidney does it for a few minutes?” are great places to start.
5. “My idea is better than yours.”
You know that feeling you get when you have a great idea, and you can’t wait to share it with the world? You probably also know what it feels like when you present that idea and someone either disagrees with you … or worse, presents a completely different idea of their own in response.
What to say instead: It’s very rare you are going to have to do everything on your own. No matter what you’re doing, it’s often a team effort, and that means everyone’s idea matters, even if some might be better than others. Try saying, “That’s a great idea. Maybe we can compromise and find a way to make both our ideas work.”
6. “I don’t want your feedback.”
Criticism of any kind is not always easy to accept, but there is a big difference between someone tearing you down for being you and giving you constructive criticism so you can do your job or perform a skill better than you are right now.
What to say instead: When someone gives you feedback, it’s nothing personal. The person is evaluating your work and giving you suggestions for how to do better, not commenting on how they feel about you as a person. If you aren’t ready for it or in the mood to take it into consideration, just politely say, “I appreciate your feedback. I’ll take that into consideration.”
7. “I can’t do that.”
You’re one person. You only have so many skills and capabilities. Unfortunately, we’re often a lot more capable than we believe we are. We tend to let fear, negative thinking and sometimes even laziness, get in our way.
What to say instead: Positive affirmations are going to be the only phrases that can turn your attitude into a winning attitude. So instead of saying straightaway, “I can’t do that,” instead, be honest. “I’ve never done that before, but I’m willing to learn” or “Maybe I can look at this from another angle and make it work that way.”
Change the outcome of your life by changing the phrases you use every day. With some hard work, it is possible to be more positive and take on situations you used to think you could not handle.
Set a good example for those around you. Don’t talk like a loser: start talking like a winner. You won’t regret it.