The Anti-Powerful Words: Try, Can’t and But

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I attended the eWomen Network conference earlier this month. One of the highlights was watching Wayne Lee—a hypnotist and Peak Performance Expert (—bring a group of women onto the main stage and use simple hypnotic techniques to both entertain us and illustrate the power of the unconscious mind. I’ve always wondered about hypnotism—is it real? Is it an act? What I can say is with all I have studied in pursuit of my MFT combined with all that have experienced as I immersed myself in personal development is that I’m convinced of the power of the subconscious mind.

One thing that Wayne Lee shared with us was the negative power of three different words: “can’t, try and but.” He pointed out how he had used these words with the ladies when he first brought them on stage. ”Imagine there is crazy glue on the inside of your eyelids. You try to open your eyes, but you can’t. The more you can’t open them, the more you try, but the more you try, the more you can’t.” He mentioned that those actually disempower our mind.

So , how does this apply to real life?

When we have a goal—something we want to accomplish—oftentimes we say we are going to ”try” to do it. “I’m going to try and reach my goals.” “I’m going to try and lose 10 lbs.” According to Wayne Lee, when we use the word “try,” we are  actually lying to ourselves because we aren’t committing to it. We’re giving the mind a signal that we actually don’t want it. If you are a Star Wars fan, this probably sounds familiar. Jedi Master Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

To illustrate the point, drop a pencil on the floor and try to pick it up. Go ahead, just try to pick it up. See? you can’t try. You either pick it up or you don’t, it’s the same with anything in life. That word “try” is really a dis-empowering word— or as I called it anti power.

The next word was “can’t.” Can’t is a lack or permission.When we use the word can’t in regards to ourselves, it subconsciously takes away our power to choose. We become our own prisoner.

The third word he mentioned was  “but.” This is probably the one word I have worked the hardest to eliminate from my vocabulary. “But” is an excuse, and it negates anything else we say. For example, if I were to say, “I would love to be able to earn a million dollars, but I’d never be able to,” the subconscious negates the “I love to earn a million dollars” and focuses on the “I’d never be able to.” By adding the word “but,” I’ve created an excuse—and that excuse is going to win.

I challenge you to pay attention to the words you use. Notice how you talk to yourself and about yourself. The way we speak is habitual, which means we can create a new habit!

Instead of “I will try” or “I can’t,” use “I choose to.” Replace the word “but” with “and” (it’s crazy how it can still make sense”) and if that doesn’t work, use  “yet” or “though” or “however.”

Set the intention to do this—just for this week—and watch what happens. If you accept this challenge, message me on Facebook (@VOICEbyCaryMac).  I’d love to hear about what you notice!

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