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  • Tamara Medina Sapovalova

The four forbidden phrases



Last week, I posted ‘Five ways to increase your confidence’, which outlines simple ways to adjust your approach and be more confident in yourself. One of the points spoke about phrases to eliminate from your vocabulary…I call them forbidden phrases! In my last post, I talk more about these phrases and how you can ensure you never use them again!



‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world’ - Buddha


One of the first sessions I usually share with my clients is what I call ‘The four forbidden phrases’.

Since we are what we think, how much attention do you pay to the following phrases you use in your daily conversations?


"I do not know"


If you do not know something, you need to investigate and learn. With technology, the world is at our fingertips. If it's something about yourself and your feelings, ask yourself: what would help you find the answer?


If it is regarding the things you want, you can make a list of what you want. If this is challenging, do it the other way around – what don’t you want in your life or career? This will give you an idea of what direction you need to be going in…and will help you know exactly what needs to be done.

Also do not confuse this with always having to have an answer (as I have been asked before.)  It's about saying, ‘I don't know right now, but I will find out!’


"I can’t"


What makes you think you can’t? What would help you achieve it? Who could support you? Concentrate on the solutions - you may have to do it several times until you achieve your goals.

Think outside the box, change your perspective, do things differently or things that are outside your comfort zone. Whatever it takes, there is always a way to find new approaches to making things happen even if they follow a completely unexpected route.


Visualise the end goal or task – sometimes, looking from the point of achieving something reveals paths of how to get there and the different routes are clearer.


"It's difficult"


You must see life and situations that present themselves as challenges. You have two options… you can focus on all the reasons why you are not going to achieve the things you want or on the opportunities that will see you to your goals.


Instead of saying it’s hard or difficult, change the word to challenging because we can take on challenges.


"I'm going to try"


"Either you do it or you don’t, but do not just try". When we "try" we never give 100 percent because ‘we are only trying’…we are already limiting ourselves.


How often do you say these words to yourself? Try paying attention in the next few days and see how many times you catch yourself or people around you using these phrases.


When we ask ourselves questions, our brain searches for answers. If we immediately say beforehand that we do not know, that we cannot, that it is difficult, or that we are going to "try", then our brain "closes" because it no longer sees it is necessary to look for alternatives, opportunities, knowledge and answers.


Eliminating these phrases from your vocabulary will make a world of difference.


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