NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – to me the key word in NLP is programming. The idea is to change behaviors. To do so the negative aspects of who we are need to change. The first line of this change is the most noticeable for the client. That is done by the words we speak. Powerful words that can affect us negatively.
Eight words which can give us a way out... an escape clause as to why we do not achieve our goals and desires. These words should only be used to install the objectives we desire.
They are – can't, try, could have, if, should, might, but, and would have. Let's look at these negative words.
“Can't” - I can't write a book. I can't change the tire on a car. I can't pay my bills because I don't have enough money. I think you get the idea. My question is... why can't you do these thing? “Can't” makes us feel inferior or less then others. John wrote a book because he had time and I can't because I have no time. What are you doing that you can't find the time? Can you pay your bills when you budget your money or increase your income? Get rid of the word “can't.”
“Try” - Try in our society is an acceptable form of saying we are doing our best. Though if we succeed then we don't need to try do we? An example, your employer asks you to have an assignment done by the end of the week. The week ends and you are asked if you completed the project. Your response is, “I tried but I didn't get it done.” The boss right away feels a little let down and wonders did you really try at all.
“If” - If only I had this or if only I did this. To me, “if” is a word of fantasy. Years ago I wrote a poem entitled What If? It was about the choices I didn't make in my life and now looking back I wonder where my life would be if my journey went down another path. The idea of “if” being a negative word is because it puts us back in the past and regretting the choices we have made. And looking back to the past with regrets doesn't help us at all. A saying I heard in AA years ago goes well here. “It's OK to look at the past, just don't stare at it.” The word “if” can make us stare at it.
“Might” - I might move. I might write a fourth book. I might make a living with NLP. “Might” shows me that I can have dreams and goals, though “might” doesn't make it concrete. It doesn't set out a plan on how I will write a fourth book or how I will move or how I will start a business. “Might” deals with fantasies and gives us an escape when we don't follow through. After all, I said I might write another book, that doesn't mean I will.
“But” - Years ago during my first marriage we were in family counseling, my wife (now ex) and our four kids. Our counselor had one rule whenever we had something to share we could not use the word “but.” At the time it didn't make much sense to me, now I look at it and see that “but” as a way of keeping us a victim. An example. I want to go to England this Christmas and enjoy a holiday in the old world, but I'm scared of flying. One part shares my joy and excitement of going on a trip, then the rest says, “Oh poor Dave.” The other side of the coin where “but” could be productive is something like this. I want to go to England this holiday season, but I can't get a passport because of my past troubles with the law.
Now that was just an example. To set the record straight, I did spend the 2010 Christmas season in England and have my ticket in place for another holiday season for 2011. And yes, I'm very excited to return to that beautiful country.
I will lump the last three together. Anyone who has stepped foot into a 12 Step room know these three words, “could have, should, and would have.” In the rooms they are, “woulda, coulda, shoulda's.” Another wonderful way of being overly critical about our past and fill us with depression and regrets. Just look back at the things you could have done, or should have done, or how you wished about what you would have done. Let it go. The “woulda, coulda, shoulda's” serve no purpose for those in recovery and can stagnate our growth today.