Ban This Word From Your Vocabulary


No one likes to hear that word so we should ban it from our vocabulary. 

In previous generations, people like Dale Carnegie could get away with saying “don’t criticize, condemn or complain” – a powerful message, stronger than the negative word at the start.  Back then, people cut slack to “experts” who pontificated about self-improvement.

But today, Millennials among others hate to hear what not to do right up front.  They close their ears and disregard whatever follows.

Try this instead.

Catch yourself when you are about to say “don’t” – if you’re like me, you’ll have no shortage of chances.

Once you catch yourself saying “don’t”, try to restate what you were about to say in a positive way – with a benefit attached if possible and watch how ears perk up.


  • “Don’t forget to clean up your room” is replaced by “Please do your usual great job cleaning up your room”.
  • “Have that report on my desk in the morning” is out and “Our deadline is tomorrow morning – thanks for having that report ready” is in.
  • “Don’t talk to me like that” is less effective than “I respond to positive talk”.
  • “Don’t worry” is less effective than “Keep your chin up”.

The more we avoid words that tell people what to do and what to think, the more effective we can be.

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