Vocabulary is the window to your soul. It allows others to see your genius, and it defines how you perceive the world outside your mind.

Early influencers, like parents, teachers, and bosses, gave you the vocabulary you use today. However, you have a choice about whether and how much you use the words that empower as opposed to those that drain you.

It’s not easy to change your vocabulary. It takes hard work and mindful practice, but your life will change when you master how you speak.

The following 5 draining phrases are the easiest to catch. You may also be surprised by how empowering their positive counterpart can be.

1. Can’t

It’s a total cliché, but the truth is that you have everything you need to be the person you want to be. Usually, the only thing stopping you is a “can’t mindset.”

Any task, project, or mission requires a certain level of competency. You may not have all that competency today, but a decision to achieve will bring everything you need to the surface.

Reposition your mindset to “how can I” whenever you hear or feel yourself defaulting to “can’t.”

2. Don’t know…

Nobody knows everything.

In fact, you shut out more of the world as you go deeper into your genius. Consequently, you may end up knowing less about more, while you know more about less.

This should never be an excuse for learning about something that is important to you.

When “I don’t know,” means, “I should know,” then you have a simple next step – go figure it out. In that case, you can replace it with, “I’m not 100% on that; I’ll get back to you with an answer.”

Otherwise, when “I don’t know,” actually means, “I don’t care,” you can usually offer an introduction to someone or a resource that can deliver the right news.

3. Sorry

“Sorry” is one of the most overused and diluted words. I’m sure it once carried meaning, but now, it just drains your power in almost all interactions.

We say it for the most meaningless things, like accidentally getting in someone’s way or missing an arbitrary deadline. Being remorseful is not a bad thing, but your mind usually takes more meaning with it than your intention.

The fix is simple, but it takes some work and creativity.

Simply replace remorse with gratitude.

Some ideas:

  • “Sorry, I’m late,” can be, “Thank you for your patience.”
  • “Sorry (I got in your way),” can be, “Excuse me.”
  • “Sorry, I didn’t hear that,” can be, “Please repeat that. Thank you.”

Obviously, this is only when appropriate. There are situations that warrant a a true apology, but they are rarer than you think.

4. Have to…

You don’t need to do anything.

Everything in life is a choice. You decide to get out of bed, organize yourself for the day, drive to work at a certain time, and do all the tasks you do throughout the day.

You own your actions, even when you feel like there are no choices. The other side of those actions are consequences, though.

Living in a world of “have to” or “need to” drains your power. It trains your mind that you don’t have control over your actions. The counterbalance to this is “choose to” or “get to.”

5. Try

Trying is meaningless. You’re either doing or not doing.

People say, “I’ll try,” when they actually mean, “I’m not going to do that, and if I do, I probably won’t perform to the level you want me to.” It’s a total cop out and waste of everyone’s time.

This is the simplest thing to change in your life.

Move into a binary world of “yes and no” to escape the perpetual “maybe.” Do it or don’t do it. It’s that simple.

Every time you hear or feel yourself defaulting to “try,” consider all the other options. Do you really want to do it, or are you looking for an easy way to say “no?”