The Five Words That Suck the Joy Out of You

Zoom In: The Five Words That
Suck the Joy Out of You

December 19, 2014

As a coach, I like to think of client sessions as “Sparkly Language Play Sessions.”


How we use language affects how we show up in the world, which affects how much money we make and how healthy we are, which affects how we feel about ourselves, which affects how we show up in the world.

See the cycle? It can feel overwhelming.

The killer? We can be blind to this cycle as we go through the motions of life.

The good news is considering all of the things in the world that are out of our hands, we do have the power to choose our words.

In this article, I point out five commonly used words that suck the joy out of our lives and five words you can instead use to empower you.

First up?

SUCCESS. Don’t get me started on this word. It’s vague. It means you accomplished something.

But for what are you doing the work? Focus on the reason you want to be a success, the experience of life you’d like to generate as a result of being successful.

I see success as a path to pure, unbridled joy. Working with my clients to ensure their measures for success aren’t simply monetary ensures they’ll actually be happy with their achievements.

Practice aiming for joy rather than success.

PROBLEM. I believe it was Tony Robbins who said that an unwanted surprise is a problem.

The word “problem” diminishes your ability to do anything about your situation. It leaves you utterly powerless.

All you may end up doing is looking for a way to fix it. A fix is a one-solution deal and a it’s usually uncreative. It does not consider the roots of your “problem,” so you may very well deal with this “problem” again.

And again.

And again.

What if this uncomfortable experience wasn’t a problem? What if you related to it as a complete breakdown, like your circuits shorted out?

When you’re short-circuiting, you’ll want to find out the cause, and perhaps completely re-wire yourself.

When you’re looking to re-wire instead of fix, a whole array of solutions may show up. It’s creative, illuminating and way more fun.

Practice looking at non-working parts of your life as breakdowns (or short circuits) instead of problems.

WILLPOWER. As in, “If I just had the discipline to do this, my life would get better!”

Willpower is your ability to restrain your impulses. Hmm, you see how murky this can get? If you don’t restrain yourself, you won’t produce the results. Then you’ll beat yourself up.

Reality check: You create what you desire by putting in place systems that cultivate new habits that don’t let you slip into your old ways.

With systems, you get to look at what needs tweaking when you’re not producing what you’re after.

With willpower, you fall victim to your lack of motivation to push yourself. It’s a feeling that can never be satiated.

Read: Your success (joy) has nothing to do with how disciplined or willful you are.

Practice using systems instead of willpower.

WISH. To do this is to dream aloud with no intention to take action. Why would someone do that? Because it takes commitment to declare to do something. And commitment is a scary feat for many of us.

When you stay uncommitted, you don’t have to own any consequences.

Yet a consequence for wishing does exist. If you’re not getting what you wished for, you are in exactly the same place you were when you first began wishing. So life stagnates.

Instead of wishing, practice choosing something, own your choice, and declare by when and how that will be created.

TRY. As Yoda said, “There is no try. Do or do not.” When you say try (like, “I’ll try my best”), you’re making it okay to not follow through on your word.

Then you end up in the camp of those who “wish,” and hope for “willpower” to get them through.

How about declaring you’ll do X by Y date? A declaration is a statement made without any idea of how your creation will come to life. And there’s always (always!) a date attached to it.

Being able to declare a result and generate yourself to create it makes you all-powerful.

So, practice declaring instead of trying.

The words you use every day are powerful. Use words that make you powerful.

By Julie Varughese

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To become a butterfly, you must be willing to give up being a caterpillar.