There Are Certain "Prison Words" That Imply That Your Life Is In The Hands Of External Forces. 
Avoid Using Them.

This concept was first introduced to me at a seminar many years ago, and it has changed portions of my speech ever since. One example is the substitution of the prison word HAVE TO with the free expression CHOOSE. .Consider the difference between, "I have to work late tonight", and "I choose to work late tonight". CHOOSE indicates that you are in charge of the outcome. HAVE TO implies that something external makes the decisions for you. the following are prison words I try very hard to avoid using:

  • Never (seldom, almost never, hardly ever)
  • Always (most of the time, almost always)
  • Can't (choose not to)
  • Must (choose to)
  • Only way (few alternatives)

There are many more, but avoiding even these few can make a real difference in how you feel about the issue (like working late) and how your words are interpreted by others.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved