Word Choice

Last week I accepted the responsibility to be the community leader for the Nashville Chapter of minimalist.org meet up group. The group has been without a leader for several months and has started to become stale as a result of this. At first I was hesitant (ok, I’m still hesitant), but I decided to take it on. The way I look at it, it was a group that I had previously participated in and that I enjoyed. If I really wanted to see the group continue, then I should do something about it. So I did.

I have followed the blog The Minimalist for some time and much of what they write about I can relate to. Since this meet up group is their group I’ll be expected to occasionally teach the principles that they outline on their blog and in their book. Ok, I haven’t read everything on their blog and I haven’t actually read their book, but I’m sure I can represent the material just fine. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work. So I ordered the book and I’m reading it this week.

The Book

The book is a short read and it’s packed full of useful and inspiring information. It’s broken down into sections that outline areas of your life that you should focus on. The first is your health. Without your health you have nothing else, so that makes it the most important right? I agree. And I recognize that this is an area that I have let slip and I’m going to be correcting in the next few months. At the end of the chapter there is a great little gem however, that I think deserves to be highlighted. They make the following statement in regards to your health:

“We strongly believe in turning your shoulds into musts.”

I love that. What a simple way to highlight the power of the word that we choose to use. Instead of “I should get some exercise” it’s “I must get some exercise”. “I should lose some weight” becomes “I must lose some weight”. What a powerful change of words. And it can be used in other areas of your life as well. Instead of “I shouldn’t buy that because it’s not in my budget” it’s “I must not buy that.” Much more definitive.

Other Words

It reminds me of other conversations that I’ve had on word choices or how we respond in conversations. Simple exchanges where the words we choose have a negative feel to them that affect how we view our situation. Many times these things are used in jest, but eventually cloud our perspective of the world. For example “I have to go to work”. Sounds bad right? I bet you felt something when you read that. But it’s not right. It should be “I get to go to work”. After all, you are choosing to work there.

It’s occurring to me as I write this that I’m guilty of this all the time. The problem is that it’s self perpetuating. The more I use the wrong words the more likely I am to use them again. And I know they are affecting my outlook on life. I should must work on that.