We all believe we can achieve greatness. We all believe that there is something inside us that can make a difference, whether it’s starting a business, raising a family, or changing the world.
Yet there are many things in life that hold us back. Finances and credit, for example, can make it hard to travel. Family obligations can make it hard to take a lower paying salary. You are going to face challenges. What you DON’T want, however, is to be held back because of your words.
The Language that Holds Us Back
Unfortunately, many people find that their biggest enemy to their success is themselves, and one of the main causes of that is something that most people ignore – language.
Language is powerful. Studies have consistently shown that the words we use to describe ourselves can have an effect on how we feel and how we act. If you call yourself pretty every day, you’re going to find yourself far more beautiful than if you call yourself ugly – even if you’re saying it as a joke.
But we say these words often, and perhaps the most common word in our vocabulary when talking about ourselves is “lazy.” In fact, most people say it like it is a badge of honor, and something to be proud of:
“I was going to make dinner but then I was too lazy, so I ordered a pizza.”
“No, I think I want to stay home today. I’m lazy.”
“You’re going to climb a mountain? Ha! I am far too lazy for that.”
The term “lazy” is often said with a hint of laughter, but it is also stated like it is something to be proud of, and this is a mistake. Language is far too powerful. Calling yourself “lazy” without thinking about it can cause a host of issues, including:
Excusing Laziness – Laziness is a negative quality. It is the absence of goals and motivation. When you call yourself lazy, you’re excusing laziness as though it is not something worth changing.
Feeling Lazy – As mentioned, words have power. If you call yourself lazy, you’re going to feel lazy. It’s not always something you notice on a cognitive level, but the mind is a fascinating organ, and the words you use will make you feel like it is a part of you.
Getting Used to Doing Nothing – Similarly, when you call yourself lazy as a way to explain why you didn’t do a specific action, what you’re really doing is getting used to that as an acceptable response. In the future, “doing nothing” is going to remain something you do.
Now, we all enjoy having a day off from life. A “lazy day,” if you will. But if you’re someone that feels stuck in life – if you’re someone that finds that you struggle to find the motivation you need to take on all the tasks in the day, and someone that hasn’t done a good job of keeping yourself active and motivated towards whatever you hope to achieve for yourself – then “lazy” shouldn’t even be a word that you use jokingly to describe yourself. It should be a description you are actively trying to avoid.
Choosing Your Language Wisely
You may have heard of affirmations. Affirmations are positive phrases that people say to themselves every day in an effort to boost their mood or feel more confident in what’s going to happen. Affirmations are effective because they force the person to use positive language, no matter how they’re feeling.
But you also want to avoid the opposite of affirmations: negative self-talk that makes the behaviors you want to avoid more acceptable, or could cause you to feel worse about yourself. Whether it’s “lazy,” “stupid,” “fat,” or “boring,” these words can be harmful to your self-esteem even when said in a joking way. Control your language, and you’ll control your actions.