I was doing some research for an article on stress and depression yesterday. So, I web-searched on a few terms.
And I couldn’t believe how sloppy is the language used by so many people who should know better; doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors and, apparently well-respected PhD’s, using phrases along the lines:
Try to feel more positive
You must try and relax
Do try and take up a hobby
You must try to reduce the stress in your life
Try a little non-strenuous exercise every few days.
‘… people who should know better’??
Yes, they should.
These people are in positions of trust. In the eyes of their listeners or readers or customers/clients they are ‘experts’.
Their status invites trust.
Yet they don’t seem to take responsibility for, if they even recognise these, the implications of what they say or write.
In our own NLP training programmes, we look at words and phrases and consider their implications.
That is because these indicate what’s really going on in the speaker’s mind – and the emotional impact of what they say on the listener.
And ‘try’ is an excellent example.
When you ask someone to ‘try and do this…’ you send a message which, intentionally or otherwise, includes:
- I don’t believe you can do it
- I don’t think you will do it
What you have said weakens the listener’s belief that they can do it.
“Well, if the Expert doesn’t believe I can do it… what chance do I have of succeeding?!”
How about those with whom you currently communicate?
Are your messages, day in day out, sending a constant stream on non-believing messages?
The higher your standing in their eyes the greater the power of your ‘I don’t believe in you’ messages.
Your family – and especially children?
Your customers or clients?
The people you coach or teach
Your work colleagues or direct reports?
Even one ‘try’ statement can have a powerful impact, depending on the situation and on the relationship between you? A constant stream of such messages is powerfully undermining of the listener’s self-belief – and, conversely, in their faith in you.
Here’s a challenge
See how long you can go without using ‘try’. How long can you go without saying the word – and without thinking (subvocalising) it?
Will it be hours? Or days?
If it’s weeks, congratulations!
(Oh, and remember to avoid thinking ‘I must try to not use try!)