A Little Happier: Are You “Practicing the Piano” or “Playing the Piano?”

The more I’ve studied happiness, good habits, and human nature, the more I’ve come to realize the importance of the words we choose.

Words matter, metaphors matter.

King John II of Portugal rebranded the aptly named “Cape of Storms” as the “Cape of Good Hope” to encourage travelers.

During World War II, Winston Churchill suggested the name “Mosquito Fleet” for a fleet of fast, small craft, then bettered it to “Hornet Fleet,” then again “Shark Fleet.” As the times changed, an agricultural group changed the term from “prunes” to “dried plums” and then back to “prunes” again.

Ask yourself:

o   Do you play the piano or practice the piano?

o   Do you spend time networking, or are you taking time to engage with others?

o   Is that room in your house an office, a study, or a library?

o   Are you lowering your standards or lowering the bar?

o   Do you spend time or invest time?

o   Is it a failure or is it information?

o   Do you study nature or study physics?

o   Do you think about office politics or office diplomacy?

o   Are you going for a run or training for the marathon? 

o   Are you taking a break from sugar, quitting sugar, or are sweets just not your thing?

o   Ditch day or personal day or mental-health day?

o   Do you have to do it or do you get to do it?

It’s surprising how much the choice of our words matters.




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