As an actor, you’re taught to use active words instead of the passive voice. You want to use words that compel you to act rather more than not.
Whether you’re an actor or a person striving to achieve some sort goal, everyone can benefit from the power of words.
Words psychologically affect us on a subconscious level and in many other levels we may not understand. Though they vary in degree, your choice of words can help you significantly as well as hurt you and your endeavors.
Although there are much more, here is a list of some disempowering words and some empowering alternatives.
Not all of these words are that bad but as any actor or actress can attest to, some words are just stronger and some words weaker.
I found a lot of these in some of my favorite books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Rap Race and Revolution and you can find more active words in any thesaurus, especially The Actor’s Thesaurus.
* Note-I’ll be gradually updating and adding to this list.*
1.Try– Whenever people fail at doing something, they love telling you they “tried.” Well, if you try to pay the rent, does that mean you paid it? And when you tell your landlord you “tried,” will he/she let you stay?
Trying is a word for people who give up, because to “try” something usually means you gave a shot and that was it. People who continue to work at something ’til they get it, they “strive.”
2. Broke– Something is only “broke” if somethings wrong with it. Is something wrong with you? Or are you just low on finances?
3. Worry– Another unhealthy word and emotion. Are you “worried” (scared) or are you concerned?
4. Wish– Is there a Genie in a lamp somewhere? Are you at a magic wishing well? In real life, “wishes” don’t come true. Work does. Plans do.
5. Can’t– Saying you can’t automatically weakens you. But you’ve been conditioned to think of life terms of what you can and can’t do. Try to avoid saying “can’t” for a day, and see how hard it is to think differently.
In reality, because of the infinite potential of the human mind, there’s actually nothing you “can’t” do.
6. Maybe– is one of the favorite words of people who either hate thinking or hate making decisions. Either way, make up your mind and live in the affirmative.
7. But- is another weak word. It automatically weakens the strength of any positive statement you make.
Ex.” I was going to go work out at the gym and lose some of these pounds BUT I ended up passing Jack-in-the-Box on the way and you know how things are with my undisciplined ass.” or “I was going to ask her out to the dance BUT I punked out, she wouldn’t give me the chance anyway.”
8. Rituals vs. Habits
“People tend to talk in terms of “good habits” and “bad habits,” but I prefer to think in terms of rituals and habits. Think about it. Whenever you hear someone say, “She/he has a habit of …” the thing that comes next is rarely positive. The difference between rituals and habits is that you choose to do rituals; you have some degree of awareness and intention. People tend to admire your rituals.” ~ Shawn Phillips