Replace 3 Commonly Misinterpreted Words

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Brian Kight

Language is powerful because of the meaning we assign to it and the feelings it triggers. 

The right words can transform a message from average to exceptional. They can open a mind or touch the heart. 

The not-quite-right words can transform a message with purpose into a message that gets ignored or easily misinterpreted.

This is true for messages you deliver to other people but also for the messages you deliver to yourself.

Let me give you three practical examples of how a single word can lead to significantly different places.

  • Replace sacrifice with exchange.
    • To sacrifice is to give something up without gaining in return.
    • To exchange is to trade one valuable thing for another.
  • Replace accountability with responsibility.
    • Accountability is externally initiated and almost exclusively used in the context of mistakes and punishment. It emotionally triggers avoidance. 
    • Responsibility is internally initiated and is used in the context of cause and effect. It emotionally triggers ownership.
  • Replace react with respond.
    • React suggests an emotionally impulsive action that lacks some ability to be controlled or directed with intention.
    • Respond suggests a purposefully controlled action as a result of intentional thinking or thorough training.

There’s nothing wrong with the words sacrifice, accountability, or react. They just may not carry the meaning you’re trying to instill or trigger the feelings you’re trying to feed.

Try replacing them with exchange, responsibility, and respond. It’s a small change that could have a big impact.

Everything is training for something. Do the work.

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