The Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for over 170,000 words that are currently in use. Each of these words, some more often than others, we use to communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions and so much more on a daily basis.
While many of us can come up with several words not listed within the dictionary that we could all benefit from using less often, there is one defined word that I believe to be far more detrimental. This word can not only be found within the pages of every english dictionary, but it is also something most of us use on a regular basis -even within casual conversation.
The common word that I believe we need to stop saying so often is later.
Let me clarify that I'm not suggesting we eradicate the word entirely from our vocabulary, but I am encouraging us all to become aware of when we are using it and how often.
LATER DISEMPOWERS THE PRESENT MOMENT
While it is undoubtedly impossible for us to do everything that we need to accomplish right now, we rarely use the term to express that reality. Instead we use it to justify not doing things that we are fully capable of doing out of laziness.
We all know the garbage won't take itself out, the job applications won't magically be sent, and our spouses will only become even more frustrated with us, but we opt to not deal with it now. While much of what we regularly cast aside may be seemingly harmless, the repeated choice to put things off can take a toll on your approach to life.
Before you know it, you're passing up golden opportunities to drastically change your life for the better simply because you've become so accustomed to putting things off.
LATER FEEDS OUR ADDICTION TO INSTANT GRATIFICATION
We live in a world largely obsessed with seeking out and attaining instant gratification. We cheat on our partners, quit on diets, and binge watch shows not solely because, but often largely fuelled by our need to get something desirable in the now.
One of the biggest reasons we use the word later as often as we do, is that it provides us the instant gratification of not having to do something right now. While taking action may also be tied to gratification, it is guaranteed to instead be at some point in the future -which for many of us isn't as enticing.
We all know that all of the best things in our life thus far took time to build and come together, perhaps it's time we ensure our lingo aligns with that knowing.
LATER IS THE #1 CAUSE OF REGRET
One of the most powerful motivating thoughts I regularly resort to is something that I learned within the book The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower. Within the book, readers are encouraged to imagine themselves on their deathbed while asking what would that person say to you right now?
While their advice may be to enjoy your youth (no matter how old you currently are) and to cherish the time that you have with loved ones, there is no way they would ever tell you to succumb to laziness. No matter how much we accomplish in life, we are bound to always have been capable of more, so let that inspire you to not put off the things you know are important to you any longer.
As I mentioned before, the purpose of this article is not to fully eliminate the word later from your lexicon (nor is it to make us into machines that never relax), but to instead become more mindful of your use of it. For the next little while treat it as you would a curse word around children.
Take note of how and when you are using it. If it ever falls under one of the above mentioned uses, challenge yourself to do the opposite to prevent yourself from continuing to form a behaviour we'd all like to avoid.
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