Useful Word Substitutes and Phrases – A tongue in cheek look at the ridiculous things we say.

I can't, it's too hard, I'm too tired and I don't have time!

I can’t, it’s too hard, I’m too tired and I don’t have time!

If you have ever tried to get a business off the ground or have been burned out, in need of making some necessary changes to improve your situation, then you have probably used some of the same words and phrases I am going to review in today’s post.

I know I have used every single one of them at some point, repeatedly. Perhaps you have too.

I still use them on occasion, when I less vigilant. Although, I have recently endeavored to avoid using them in favor of more constructive and useful substitute terms. It isn’t easy, but it can be done if you are intentionally intentional about it.

What am I talking about? Consider the following words and phrases, their more likely true meaning along with some highly recommended substitutes.

“I’m too tired.” Too tired?Really? The true meaning of these words 99% of the time is “I am just too lazy to do that right now ” (sloth), “I really don’t want to do that” (whining) or “I would rather do that later” (procrastination).

When I’m feeling too tired to do something I feel I should be doing, I like to ask myself this question, “if Bill Gates promised me a million dollars to shovel a dump truck full of dirt right now, would I say yes?” I think we all know the answer to that question – “Where’s the shovel? Get out of my way!”

This newfound heretofore untapped reserve energy just tells me what I was really saying to myself was, “I’m not sufficiently motivated to do this thing that needs doing.” Motivation, it would seem, is a choice. A choice subject to bribery at that. Which brings me to the universal substitute for “I’m too tired” – “Give me a shovel and get out of my way!”

“I can’t, it’s too hard.” You have to ask yourself, as I have to ask myself, hard as opposed to what?” Harder than having or raising a child, graduating from college, the soul sucking work-a-day grind you loath, being a responsible adult?

Is learning Word Press, finishing a blog post or developing a new product really more difficult than any of those challenges? The true meaning of the words ‘I can’t” at least as I used them, is “I quit” (easier to do), “I’m afraid” (okay but fear is manageable), or “that seems too much like work” (laziness).

The substitute response to “I can’t” should be something like – “If I can work a job, start a business on the side while taking care of my family, juggle-juggle-juggle things all day long I really don’t care that much about, then I believe I could learn the calculus while I am doing the dishes, so yes I can!”

“I don’t have time.” Bahahahaha!  This is the best one of them all. Of course you have time. We all get 168 hours each week. We make time for those things we feel are important. When I trot this excuse out what I am really saying is, “This is just not important enough for me to do (low priority).” Even though I may feel that it is a high priority. Which means I just wasn’t “all in” as they say.

In looking back to those times in my own life when I said I didn’t have time, there were items I could have taken off my plate and made time. I was making a convenient excuse for inaction.

If something is really important to us we will rally around the concept or task and give it top of list positioning. That’s what successful people do. The people who buy their stuff or make their stuff for them say “I don’t have time”.

When I said I didn’t have time, when I could have made time, it was precisely because I was content to remain comfortably miserable. The truth is I wasted time every day. Most people do. The better substitute for “I don’t have time” might be “I am going to create some margin. I no longer have time to waste!”

Now, what did I do with that shovel?

Written by

Clark Gaither, MD

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