Words matter. The words we speak and write not only influence how people think about us but how we think about ourselves.

To optimize your life to achieve your goals, Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, believes our word choice matters greatly. He's a guy who's obsessed with stripping away what's unnecessary--from admin tasks at work to bad food in his diet--to fully optimize his daily routine and productivity. Ferriss says eliminating useless words is just as important as eating well.

We need to feed our brains with good stuff if we expect it to work to its fullest. "The better we choose our words, the more we hone our thinking machine," he writes on the Four Hour Workweek blog. "It's a case of GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Thinking hard is pointless if we don't use the right tools."

Ferriss goes on to explain that to hone your thinking and do so precisely, you must use exact words--not vague, unclear ones with empty meaning. For clear, precise thoughts, use clear, precise words.

Here's his list of words he recommends you slash from your vocabulary:

  1. Happiness
  2. Success
  3. Should
  4. Responsible
  5. Realistic
  6. Reasonable
  7. Spiritual
  8. Good/Right
  9. Bad/Wrong
  10. Moral

Some words in the list are so overused they've essentially become meaningless. What is happiness really? How do you truly define success? Ferriss points out that you'll find it's impossible to describe each word without using language that's equally vague and meaningless.

What's difficult is that many of these words are so common it's hard to stop using them--especially for people who strive for happiness and success. To wean yourself off them forever or even for a short time, Ferriss suggests choosing one to eliminate from your vocabulary for a week. See what happens. Maybe you'll actually end up becoming more successful.