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5 Common Words That Create Failure

Your level of success is predetermined by the words you use every day. Avoid these five "failure" words.
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The words that people use every day determine whether they will achieve failure or success. There are five words that, in my observation, frequently show up in the conversation of losers, much more so than in that of winners. Here they are:

1. Luck

Although it's true that unforeseen events can affect outcomes, it was not luck that made the difference. It was the events. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Believing in luck focuses your thoughts on an imaginary construct that neither you nor anybody else can change or affect.

What's worse, luck is an excuse that explains away failure ("It was just bad luck") and devalues your successes ("It was just good luck").

2. Enemy

It's true that you have competitors, and that sometimes, for you to win, they have to lose (and vice versa). Even so, there are no enemies in business.

Enemies are opponents in warfare, when people are killing one another. Business is about making things better, not killing people.

The moment you demonize competitors by calling them enemies, you close off your business options. Today's competitors are often tomorrow's partners.

3. Rejection

Wouldn't it be nice if people always said yes to your ideas? Well, sometimes people aren't going to like your ideas, or even you personally, for that matter.

You can pathologize such events by thinking of them as rejection, or you can understand that what really happened was that the other person's desires didn't match yours.

Rather than using a word that automatically makes you miserable, concentrate on changing your approach or approaching somebody else.

4. Hate

I cringe every time I hear somebody use this word in casual conversation. At work, it's usually something like: "I hate my boss" or "I hate my job."

Hate is a sick word, and it creates sickness in your body. Every time you use that word, you might as well be sticking a cancer cell in your body. Seriously.

I'm not saying that you've got to be sweetness and lovey-dovey about everything, but why pollute your brain by actually hating anything or anybody?

5. But

I'm sure you know somebody who can't say anything about any idea, plan, or activity without crutching the sentence with the word but.

It's always something like "Hey, that's a great idea, but..." or "I agree that we need to take action, but..." It's discouraging, and it kills momentum.

There's a substitute for but that actually creates momentum: the word and. Try it next time a but is about to emerge from your mouth.

Tomorrow, I'll give you the words that, in my observation, signal that a person is a winner rather than a loser. So stay tuned.

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Last updated: Aug 27, 2012

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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