Mar 26, 2015 / Work

Two Words I’m Eliminating From My Vocabulary

I read a quote a few years ago that has changed my life.

Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.

― John Wooden

(I’m not sure if John Wooden was the first one to say this phrase but we’ll credit it to him since that’s what I found on the internet.)

Through reading I’ve become so much more self aware of habits I want to change, mindsets I want to break, and goals I want to strive for. Most of my inspiration to change something in my life comes from a book I read.

Recently the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown has challenged by belief of productivity, working hard, and the effectiveness of the things I spend my time on. From his book I chose to eliminate a word that I’ve used for so many years to describe my behavior.


When someone asks me how I’m doing my default response is; “I’m doing great, I’ve been really busy.” There’s so much wrong with this statement!

First, I’ve realized it’s a way of me generalizing my life and avoiding anyone from really see what I’m doing. If I just say I’m busy then I don’t have to think through what’s really been going on in my life, and I don’t have to share anything beyond the surface level with anyone.

Second, I’m redefining some of my values when it comes to “being busy”. I used to see this as a status symbol of being a hard worker and doing a good job. The more I read about productivity, organization, and focusing on what’s important, the more I see that business isn’t necessarily a good thing. Being busy usually means I’m scrambling, I’m letting my tasks dictate my time, and I’m not deciding what’s most important to me.

In an effort to be more transparent and open with people and an in effort to really focus on what’s important I’m removing the word “busy” from my vocabulary.


The second word I’ve decided to remove came straight from The Difference Between Trying And Doing by Michael Hyatt.

Read his article for a more in-depth explanation on this. The basic challenge is this: Stop saying you’re going to try and do something. Either do something or don’t do it.

For me, this is another word I use to portray a facade of importance – especially in my work. If I’m trying something new then that means I’m working hard. It also gives me a built in excuse for failure. It tempts me to think I can reap all the rewards of doing something important without having to risk failure.

From now on I’m not going to try things. I’m going to do them. I’m going to fail at times, and that’s ok. But I believe mindset is extremely important. So instead of alluding to big things I’m trying to do or change I’m going to either do them or not do them. It’s my choice, and when I decide to actually do them I’m a lot more committed and determined to do them than when I have a million things that I’m “trying to do”.

By taking these two words out of my vocabulary I hope that it helps me engage more openly with people and be more intentional with the things I decide to do. I am deciding to be a more genuine and intentional person and that’s why I’m removing “busy” and “try” from my vocabulary.