Actual “Bad Words” and Why I Don’t Use Them.
There is something everyone has to learn in order to be successful: Communication. The first step is learning words, then phrases, then idioms, and finally delving deeper into cultural and other forms of deep linguistic communication. There is a problem though; as we learn words and phrases we each have different associations for them and this means that two people can use the same words and phrases but be talking about entirely different things. This becomes a complex subject that will take some years to come to grips with but I have some ideas to share with you. These ideas revolve around a single concept: We must evaluate every word and phrase we know to determine if our meaning is useful, referential, and allows us to communicate. This idea has been central to my personal success and I hope it, and the tips that follow help you to reach the success you desire. Words and how we use them determine, in part, our experience of reality.
In the study of semantics there are (and I’m really simplifying here) two categories of words: referential words and non-referential words. Referential words are things that you can interact with, while non-referential words exist only in your mind, often called concepts — sometimes a concept is useful, other times it’s harmful.
Long ago in Greece there was a discussion that went something like this: if you threw a stone it would never arrive at its destination because it would first have to travel half of the length to it’s destination, then half the length of the first half, then half the length of that and so the idea went that it would never reach it’s destination because there would always be an infinite number of half-lengths to travel . And yet we all know that if you throw a stone it reaches it’s destination.
In language we have words that create conceptual “problems” like these. For example the word “deserve”. In modern parlance “deserve” has two meanings: in the first “something” should be given to someone by someone else because they have “earned” it, and in the second “something” belongs to someone, mysteriously, because of some inherent “something” within in them that means that this “something” should bestowed upon them. What total bullshit. Let me attempt to explain why.
The moment you “deserve” something you have it, when the necessary work is accomplished to get something it is instantly there. This instant is so “instantaneous” it’s a wonder to me that we have the concept of “deserve” at all. If there is something you want that you don’t have then you haven’t “deserved” it at all, you simply haven’t finished the necessary work that equals its existing in the first place. If you use this word at all in relation to your own efforts you are basically casting a magic spell to fuck yourself over. “AbracaF**KMYSELF!!!” is the only thing I hear when someone uses the word “deserve”.
Another of these words is “talent”. As an artist and entrepreneur oh how I hate this word. In dictionaries talent is defined as “natural aptitude or skill”. In modern parlance it has very destructive consequences. I’ve observed that most people tend to think of talent as a mysterious “something” existing in a mysterious “somewhere” of a person’s “being” that enables them to “do something” others without the mysterious bestowal cannot do. Even worse, where people tend to think talent comes from is as mysterious as what they believe talent to be. How in the world does this help anyone accomplish anything? It doesn’t, it does exactly the opposite, it helps people to do exactly and completely nothing.
By saying that someone is talented you automatically have to label yourself and others in relation to the talented person as being also talented or not talented, in addition this you are negating the history of practice and the development of understanding and skill that the “talented” person has gone through to reach that level of skill. In so doing you are denying that such a skill could be replicated or surpassed — only bestowed. By labeling yourself in relation to that person as “not talented” you excuse yourself from “bearing the responsibility” of failing to engage in the practice and critical thought necessary to acquire such a set of skills yourself and instead the blame for your inability to do the work (perform the skill) falls on God, the Universe, or whatever other personified characters you want for failing to bestow a mysterious “something” upon you. Bullshit, Those who don’t try, don’t work, and don’t “think critically”, are unable to perform a task because of their misunderstanding of the natural laws of the world. Their choice of language has limited their existence.
If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur you have to know this: those who succeed in their ventures speak a different language than those who give up (notice I didn’t say fail) or never attempt. More important than the words, phrases, idioms, and sayings that a successful person uses are the words, phrases, idioms, and sayings they do not use. They may use the same word you do, but with an entirely different definition — a definition that has “power” behind it. Welcome to rest of your lifetime, you have to check every single word you know to find out whether it’s fucking you or propelling you towards what you want. Then continue with the phrases and idioms you know.
Success is born through action and understanding, Understanding is born by trial and error while action is born by the knowledge that there is an unknown and the need to make known what is unknown.
So let’s talk about fear: Obviously fear is “holding you back” (what does that even mean?), but what is fear? If we say the “fear of this or that” what we are doing is naming symptoms and not causes. It’s a hydra, for every fear you face another pops up in it’s place. In order to destroy fear’s ability to debilitate us we have to determine, once and for all what fear itself is.
Fear is simply knowing there is an unknown. You can only fear what you don’t know, knowing only that there is “something”. Fear freezes the woman who knows nothing of a snake but it’s poison.
In order to overcome fear you must simply always want to know. The map of the fearful has vast regions labelled simply “there be dragons”, but the map of the courageous is a detailed work of art chronicling vast swaths of the earth. The fearful think in simple terms: “a snake is poisonous and it’s bite will kill you. Beware!” but the courageous see this thinking ask questions: “why would the snake bite you? What had you done to it? Can a snake be your friend? Is there a way to counter the effects of poison if bitten?” and then the go looking for answers to these questions.
But in truth there is an unspoken secret of the successful: Everyone suffers from fear, but in the successful the need to know is stronger than the fear itself, and so they do things they are afraid of doing because they know that once it’s done there will be no more fear. How can one be brave if one is afraid? One can only be brave if one is afraid. This need to know being stronger than fear isn’t a mysterious bestowal by a mysterious entity either, it’s a skill that can be learned.
The truth is that fear cannot be killed, it cannot be quelled, it cannot be banished, it can simply lose ground until it has no more power in areas you choose to occupy. The man who takes a beautiful woman home from the party is as terrified to talk to her as any other man, but he steps forward and says hello anyways, daring the unknown the become known. The woman who starts a successful business is as unsure and insecure about it as any other person, but she gets in and starts the work anyways, lighting up unknown areas to find what is useful or best avoided.
To take ground from fear and become successful there’s one tool no one can do without: Failure. Failure is my favorite word, the person who fails the most succeeds the fastest. Failure is the door to success, not its gate. Knowing this is one thing, living this way is another entirely.
About the author:
Brett Merrill is an Entrepreneur, Digital Nomad (sometimes), and Music Producer. He’s the co-founder of No-Location. a large group booking accommodation service in Bali and his artist name is AZimmick.