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5 words to avoid in your life

This is one of my favourite quotes:

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."
-- Lao-Tze

Photo credit: Luke Miller

Words are good reflections of your thoughts.  In order to watch your thoughts, observe the words that came out of your mouth.  Here are some words to avoid or at least to be aware of when you are using them, especially when you use it regularly.

1.  "I will try."

As Yoda said, "Try not.  Do, or do not."  Make up your mind on whether you want to do it or not.  If you want to, then do it.  If you don't want to, then don't do it, don't try to do it.  Telling others that you will try leaves such a big backdoor for you not to do it.  It is also a way for you to lurk in the grey zone.  For example, if you were asked whether you will be going to an event, "I will try to be there" basically mean, "let me see what I feel like doing later".  Most people that abuse this word think that they don't want to make promises that they can't keep.  However, in my opinion, these people never make promises and commitments of substance because they can't keep them.

2.  "Quite"

When asked "How's the food?", many may choose to answer "quite good" or "not bad".  How about an "excellent!", "good", "delicious", "bad" for a change?  "Quite" is a way to leave backdoor for your judgment, so that you can follow up with, "but...".  This has become such an automatic response for a lot of people that even when their kids come home to show them their grade and wait for a compliment, all they could answer is "not bad".  I'm guilty of this and I have to consciously remind myself especially when giving compliments to others.

3.  "Kind of"

"This is kind of nice", "I sort of ignore him".  Again, in my opinion, this is way of avoiding responsibility in what you say.

4.  "So-called"

"There are these so-called security guards in the office".  It is commonly used with air quote.  I find that there are just so much sourness and sarcasm in "so-called".

5.  "Have to"

"I can't go to the party this weekend, because I have to go to the training", "I have to fetch my kids", etc.  This is common phrase and I use it a lot.  However, please be mindful on it.  Try changing it to "want to" and you will see how your mind and your world change.  Example, "I can't go to the party this weekend, because I want to go to the training this weekend (to improve my sales skill)."  and "I want to fetch my kids (because I want to spend time with them)."  If you really don't want to do it, especially if it is something that against your values, please don't do it.  If it is something that is good for you but you don't feel like doing it, take a different approach and see how much more you will benefit from it by changing your view on it.

Feel free to share what's on your words-to-avoid list!


  1. Came here from the Asiaworks post. It is very apparent how much this post is influenced by the training as an Asiaworks graduate.


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