Language Creates Reality – An NLP Perspective (part 2)

by | May 23, 2022

What did you find?

In part 1 of “Language creates reality” I focused on the word Don’t and by extension associated derivatives arising from no and not. I claimed that by eliminating this word (and its associated derivative words) from your language, your thinking would shift and affect your outward behaviour. Did you give in a go? What have you found?

I also mentioned two other words to consider eliminating, the words should and but.

So why shove should out?

Consider where you use the word should in your language. Maybe you use it something like this; “I should go on a diet” or “I should make a move and mow the lawn”. You get the idea.

What does it really say from deep inside you? Are you committed to the action that you are “shoulding”?  No, you are not! The real message is, “I know I need to start on a diet and I am not going to make any effort in that direction”, or “I know the lawn needs mowing and it can wait (hopefully indefinitely)”.

When the word should is used in our language, it shows lack of commitment to the statement being made. In fact it becomes a waste of breathe and energy to even say it when it is clear that there is lack of intention to act on it.

Consider saying instead what it is that will be done, or say nothing at all if nothing will be done. For example our statements from above may become, “I’ll stop snacking after 7pm” and “I’ll engage a mowing contractor to mow the lawn fortnightly”, or maybe “I’m getting a goat to do it”.  And now we have a statement that we can hold you accountable for and so it is more likely that it will happen.

And butting but out.

Okay, now we are onto the word but. So let’s start like we did for should. Where do you use but in your language? Maybe it goes something like this; “I like the dress but it is the wrong colour for you”, or “I hear what you are saying, but I know this idea will work”.

If you consider the first part of the statement it sounds okay, and then we have the but, which implies that the first part of the statement is not important, and in fact negates its value. This leaves the last part of the statement that occurs after but, and this becomes the real value or content of the statement and the message being sent. If you are negating the first part, why even say it at all? Why put out what essentially is being turned into a non thing or negative.

Looking back to our statements above, we are really saying “the dress is the wrong colour for you” (and you don’t really like it by inference). In regard to the idea statement it says “This idea will work and we are going with it” (and by inference it doesn’t really matter what you said).

You could argue that but makes communication a little softer. It may also make it less accurate and deceitful.

What to do instead?  Try restructuring your language to build on rather than negate. The easiest way to do this is to use and in place of but. It changes the meaning and allows creating and building on an idea.

For example with our dress, “I like the dress style and a different colour would better suit your complexion.”

Is this easy to do?

Not at first but with a little practice it becomes part of who you are. At first you are working against years of language habit and you need to stop and think to change it consciously. This is where you can add to the “Don’t Jar” (based on a swear jar concept) that I suggested in Language creates reality part 1. Add But and Should to the words being penalised so that you now have a “Don’t, Should, But” Jar. Get your family, friends and workmates involved to support you and help them at the same time. This could very well be the change that changes everything as it spreads out into other communities and into the world at large. It could make you moderately rich too!