Four Letter Words- Why You Should Care What You Say (#46)

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Words have power, and using the right ones (or not using the wrong ones) gives you power too.

We talk about some of our feelings towards different four letter words unrelated to the ones you are used to considering "bad."

This is a chapter from our book, so if you want a deeper dive, go check out Dead by Tomorrow on Amazon.

Show Notes:


Be aware of the words you're using and the ways they're shaping your life and decisions.

Brene Brown and Roy Podcast:


"We talked about the vulnerability and humanity behind comedy, we talked about the band we’d create, we talked about the Muppets—and we talked about why everyone loves his character Roy Kent and all his friends on the beloved comedy series Ted Lasso."

Ugh, I’m So Busy’: A Status Symbol for Our Time:


"With this workaholic lifestyle, though, comes quite a bit of prestige, a perk that the researcher Silvia Bellezza, a professor of marketing at Columbia Business School, has found Americans to be all too aware of. Bellezza is the author, along with Georgetown’s Neeru Paharia and Harvard’s Anat Keinan, of a recent paper in the Journal of Consumer Research about the prominence of an unusual status symbol: seeming busy."

Dead by Tomorrow book!


Want to read more on this chapter? Check out the book on Amazon!

Ted Lasso Quote:

“Takin’ on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong.” --Ted Lasso

Wish we could have linked video in, but there doesn't appear to be any out there. Sorry!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:19] Andrew: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, we areglad to have you back. And you know, for everybody that doesn't fall in theladies and gentlemen category, we're glad to have you here, werewolves,vampires, all that kind of jazz it's Halloween today, while we're recordingthis. You know, whatever you fall under welcome to the party.

[00:00:35] Andrew: today's episode is going to be fourletter words. It is another chapter from the book we wrote, and this is onethat kind of comes up a lot in my day-to-day life. I'm not sure about Daniels,but I have a lot of discussions with my dad about this one, because our joke iseverybody's busy all the time and it just drives us nuts.

[00:00:53] Andrew: So that said, we're going to keep thisnice and simple. Tell you the four-letter words we talked about in the book andfrom there, if you want to go learn more about them and you know what we'vethought about, at least in writing, go check out the book. They're there, feelfree to drop us a line. We can send you the chapter.

[00:01:07] Andrew: If you know, you hate us that much,that you don't want to buy the book. But then we're going to go our owndirection and kind of see where it goes. We'll probably touch on a little bit,but we're not going to just go down the list. Like we've done on some of ourother chapters. So first word on our list of four letter words that we thinkare bad.

[00:01:21] Andrew: These are kind of like curse words.For the mind easy is the first one, a word you should not be using. Soprevalently safe is our second word that we decided was not a great word. Thatshould be in your day-to-day vocabulary. Busy is probably my favorite. That onereally, really drives me nuts. And I kind of Twitch whenever I try and say it.

[00:01:42] Andrew: So sometimes I will say busy but itreally hurts me. And it sounds like I have a speech impediment whenever that.Slips into my vocab. We have very, which is purely a writers thing. We'vetalked about that in the past. We talked about in the book, so that one'spretty easy to find. They say there's easy again and then hard the opposite ofeasy.

[00:01:59] Andrew: It's another four letter word that wethink a lot of people should be conscientious of when they're using it. And toround this out, and start this podcast off. I'm going to drop you a quote fromPatrick Rothfuss it's in the book. It's one of my favorite quotes and its wordsare pale.

[00:02:14] Andrew: Shadows have forgotten names. As nameshave power words, have power words can light fires in the minds of men. Wordscan ring tears from the hardest hearts. Again, that's Patrick. Rothfuss thename of the wind words are important. So Daniel, thanks for letting memonologue for the intro today. How's it going?

[00:02:32] Daniel: It's going?

[00:02:32] Daniel: well, we're in the midst of thisHalloween season. So this is probably the first time that we actually are doingthe whole trick or treat or thing. It seems like. I dunno gone or somethinglike That or in a place where children don't exist during Halloween. So I gotto see like probably 200 kids come through the neighborhood last night, allsorts of different costumes.

[00:02:55] Daniel: It was, it was honestly a blast. SoI'm having a great weekend.

[00:02:58] Andrew: What was your favorite costume thatyou saw?

[00:03:00] Daniel: Oh, well probably. I would say therewas a master chief costume and I'm a sucker for halo, but I'm just way tooexcited about halo coming out in December, saw a 21 pilots concert lastweekend. They played one of the halo soundtrack songs. And so it's th therewere maybe better, more original costumes, but I'm just way too hyped for halo.

[00:03:20] Daniel: Right now.

[00:03:20] Andrew: Heck. Yeah, I'm about it.

[00:03:22] Daniel: I was a little disappointed in the kidthough. Cause I said, oh, you're the master chief. And he said, I'm halo.

[00:03:27] Andrew: Oh, no, you got a Spartan kick a kidfor that. Oh, I see. Just bam off the porch. Come back. What do you know whomaster chief is?

[00:03:36] Andrew: . Maybe it was just a really excited dadwho was like, you know what? You're old enough, we're doing this. You're goingto be the master chief. And he was like, I don't understand. He's like, you'llfigure it out one day. And dressed them up and let them loose on the world. Andthe kid's like, I don't know what this is.

[00:03:49] Andrew: My dad put me in this outfit,

[00:03:51] Daniel: I am halo.

[00:03:53] Andrew: Kelly, you know, This is not whatwe're talking about today, but it is Halloween. And I read Lord of the ringswhen I was an elementary school. And this goes back to the halo thing. So maybethe kid really did like halos what I'm getting at. I read Lord of the rings andit was, it was too much book for me in second grade when I was what it was at10 years old, nine years old.

[00:04:13] Andrew: I really enjoyed it, but I, Istruggled with a little bit of comprehension so that Halloween, I went asKimberly and Gimli is a Dorf. I was actually going as Aragorn, , for whateverreason, my comprehension escaped me. And I was only through the first book, Ithink. So there is that I hadn't read the other two yet, but I'd readfellowship and I was.

[00:04:33] Andrew: Reading too fast or whatever it was.And I thought I was gimbling when I was actually Aragorn and yeah, maybe thekid, just, maybe he got a little confused, maybe halo is master chief and youknow, what's the difference. So I'll give him some, some space on it, I guess,

[00:04:47] Daniel: All right. Fair enough kid.

[00:04:54] Andrew: So four letter words. Do you have anythat we didn't get into the book or any that we talked about in the book thatyou want to expand upon?

[00:05:02] Daniel: Well, I don't know if I have anyspecific words that I'll just throw into a category of saying never use theseparticular words, but I would say for me, , the idea behind four letter wordsis more. The heart behind why certain words are being used and sort of the intentbehind words. And I think that there are some words like busy that the majorityof the time, the intent, the heart behind it, kind of the what's underlying theword is probably something that we want to avoid, which is why we can put thaton a list.

[00:05:43] Daniel: I would just say that it's kind of theheart behind words that I am more interested in. I guess that's something I,I'd kinda like to dive into more and think about so busy as an example, a lotof times when we say that we are busy, if somebody says, you know, how's yourweek go and you say, oh, it's busy. A lot of times, I feel like the reason whywe use that word is maybe because we don't really want to talk about the weekor maybe we're wanting to give an excuse for coming into that socialinteraction with low energy and kind of giving ourselves an excuse to. , maybenot fully engage in conversation, maybe we're looking for some pity, , whateverit is.

[00:06:28] Daniel: I think a lot of times saying that I'mreally busy it's, it's not really the best use of a word and it kind of, itmoves away from better conversations and better words. And so maybe you reallydid have a busy week, like maybe you've been working a crazy amount of hours.Maybe you've had all sorts of social obligations and , maybe it's truly been abusy week. I think it could be okay to use that word, but where I would say.All right. Like maybe a challenge a little bit is if it just stops there. So ifI say, Hey, Andrew, how's your week and you say, oh, it was busy. And thenconversation dead. That's kind of a bummer. If you, if you've really had a busyweek, you probably have a ton of things to talk to me about, like, tell meabout the craziness that maybe is going on at work.

[00:07:20] Daniel: Or tell me about all the, you know,different social obligations, all those types of things. Well, let's dive intosome of that. sort of some of the heart behind what words are that I think isreally important.

[00:07:31] Andrew: No, absolutely. And that is, that isthe point that I did not put in that intro here is this is not necessarily thewords themselves are bad. It's our use of the word. If you are, if you're usingcertain words to. Either make decisions based around or to use as an excuse orto get out of something or to short circuit a conversation that's where it'sproblematic.

[00:07:53] Andrew: And on the busy front, I wouldactually add one more feature to that. I think a lot of people and pleasecorrect me if you feel differently. But I think a lot of people use busy as away to. Feel like not even feel to make other people think that they are moreproductive, more involved, more exciting, I guess you could say than theyactually are.

[00:08:17] Andrew: On a lot of people will say they'rebusy because as far as I can tell, they think that that makes them feelimportant. Like they think that other people will perceive them as important ifthey are busy. And I don't know if that's accurate. It could just be this weirdcircle, jerk where people are like, Hey, he's always saying he's busy.

[00:08:35] Andrew: I want to be like him, or I don't knowhow to come up with my own, you know, conversational tactic. So I'm going tosound busy and then it just, it trickles down An example of this, and thenwe're going to get off this word because I want to talk about some other onesmaybe, but we'll see. But my dad actually was telling me about one of myyounger cousin nieces, and he's trying to plan a trip with them.

[00:08:56] Andrew: And I think she's 14, 13 or 14. And.He was like, Hey, pick, pick this thing you want to do at universal. And herresponse to him, like a week later, he's like, what'd you decide? And she'slike, oh, sorry, I've been busy. And it's one of those things like, well, Idon't know if that's accurate. And a lot of people use this as an excuse.

[00:09:14] Andrew: Like, Hey, here's the simple taskwould you like to do it? And instead of being like, oh, Hey, I totally forgot.Or I don't actually understand how to do it. Or I'm not really all thedifferent ways to properly communicate. They go, oh, I've been busy. Andthey're hoping that they'll figure it out on the back end or someone else willdeal with it for them.

[00:09:29] Andrew: What do you think about that? Becauseam I off base here?

[00:09:31] Daniel: I don't think so. I think that therewould be some instances where that's not true, right? Like very few things areuniversal, but I

[00:09:40] Andrew: Of course.

[00:09:41] Daniel: I definitely agree that there arescenarios where it's, it's sort of, kind Of this mask. Like I know right now atmy, my work, we are, we are in our busy season, we call it our busy season.

[00:09:55] Daniel: And so. It's kind of almost expectedthat if you ask anybody how they're doing right now or how they're used togoing that, they're going to say that they're busy and it's almost like a, ifyou don't say that you're busy, what's wrong with you. It's our busy season.Like what's going on. And, and so, yeah, I, I do think that there is a littlebit of this expectation, especially if you're in an important role at work.

[00:10:20] Daniel: Like you have to be busy all the time.If you're not busy all the time. What's what's wrong with you. And that's whereI, I do my best within a work setting to be pretty honest about how a week isgoing. So if, if I really do have a lot going on, I may say that I'm busy and Imay talk about it. There are some weeks where I don't and I think that that'sokay.

[00:10:40] Daniel: And I want to make sure that I'maccurately portraying that to my teams and my supervisor and whoever else,because. Maybe it's I have not been very busy for awhile and, you know, I needto work with my supervisor and get some stuff going on. Right. Like maybe I'vegot some capacity to help some other people, but also.

[00:10:58] Daniel: My team is going to sort of take theircue from me. And if I'm busy all the time and I'm, I'm never not busy, thatkind of says to the team that it's not okay for them to ever not be busy andthat can lead to some burnout and it can make them feel guilty if they have aweek where it's slow and they don't have a time going on and like, That's notokay because we do have times where we're doing a ton of extra work and we'reputting in all this extra effort and conversely, like we need times that arenot so busy so that we can retool.

[00:11:34] Daniel: We can catch up, we can get up. And soI need to set the tone and that, and my word usage goes really big into that. Andagain, like nobody's going to ever want to move up and sort of take my role ifthey're like, well, anytime I talked to Daniel, he's busy. I don't know if Iwant to be in a role like that.

[00:11:50] Daniel: And that, that created some hesitationfor me and moving up at the company at times that I had to kind of push in andfind out like, are you really busy all the time or

[00:11:59] Andrew: Yeah. Is it really as hard as you'resaying

[00:12:01] Andrew: now? That makes sense. I think a lotof people it's good. It's it's about being okay with that free time and it'sbeing okay with letting someone know. That you are actually involved withsomething you don't have to just always be on, but like almost arbitrarily,like, oh yeah.

[00:12:15] Andrew: I'm, I'm super, super busy. It's okayto be like, yeah, I've got like three projects going right now and we're tryingto do this conversion and I'm bringing on new clients or it could be completelypersonal. Hey. Yeah. Firstborn was just came into the world last week. And Idon't know what sleep is, and this is really hard and it's really having aneffect on my ability to get anything else done, because I am not at capacity todo even normal levels of work.

[00:12:40] Andrew: So I feel really overwhelmed right now.Like that that's, it opens up the communication a lot better,

[00:12:50] Daniel: So this morning you know, , Riley'sactually sick. It's funny that you talk about firstborn. So we, we were at homeand just kind of tuning into our church online and the conversation was allaround. The heart and sort of overflow of the heart.

[00:13:03] Daniel: I think words are a perfect barometeron sort of what you have going on internally. And I think it's one of thosethings that if you pay attention to the language that you're using on a regularbasis, and even not just the word, but the tone of the words, that's a reallyimportant clue to what your priorities are.

[00:13:25] Daniel: How, how you're, you're feeling sortof internally and what's going on there. That's where, you know, we, we candive into the sun, but I think, you know, the quote unquote like true fourletter words, or like, you know, the curse words, those are something that Ithink is it's kind of an interesting deal.

[00:13:45] Daniel: Cause I mean, That's language that'scommonly used across a whole lot of people. It's something I personally don'tuse. And I, and I've kind of had to question some of, well, why, why am Iabstaining from what these words are? Do I have a reason for it? And I want to feellike I have a reason for it.

[00:14:03] Daniel: besides just being told, you know,don't use it.

[00:14:05] Daniel: And for me, it kind of comes backaround. If I'm using a curse words, which I certainly have many times, oddlyenough, we talked about halo. I would say 90% of my lewd language usage hasbeen involved in halo. It's, it's almost always coming from a place of justanger, frustration and not having, , a healthy control on that, like thatoverflow.

[00:14:33] Daniel: And so to me, It's though, if thattype of language is coming out, it's a huge red flag of wow. There is justuncontrolled anger. There's uncontrolled frustration, bitterness. That is whatis coming up. And I need to, I need to take a time out and take a pause andlike really evaluate kind of what's going on here because the words that arecoming forth are speaking to some not good stuff happening.

[00:15:00] Andrew: That's interesting that that kind ofintrospection or self-awareness is also really important. , that's why we madethis cool little title, you know, it's Hey, four letter words. Youautomatically think curse words because of that same introspection. If you'rejust cussing at people because you're angry, that's obviously not healthy.

[00:15:16] Andrew: You know, I fall on the side of usingcolorful language far more regularly than Daniel. But mine is almost nevermalicious. I am almost never upset necessarily. That said that same mindsetwhere you are like being unkind or untrue to yourself or to others. It followsthe same four letter word mindset we're talking about with these, not sotraditional curse words or at least to me, because what we're talking about it,you know, safe or hard or easy, these are words we use to shape.

[00:15:47] Andrew: Our responses to our environment andit might be a, well, this is the easier path or that looks easy. So I wouldlike to do that thing. That's kind of where the ease it comes from as peopleare or what we don't like. It is people are using it as a. This is easy.Therefore, I would like to pursue that instead of the opposite, which is hard.

[00:16:07] Andrew: Oh, that looks too hard. That's that'shard. I don't want to do something that's hard. In the same way, safe it'swell, this is the safe choice. This is the safe option. Whenever you're riskadverse, like that one, you don't have any good stories too. You don't reallygrow very well. You know what we had that Ted lasso talk last time.

[00:16:24] Andrew: And I've seen everybody quoting itbecause half of everybody went and for Halloween as a Ted last, I think youwere a Kemp, right? Yep. So, I mean, Ted last has been really popular. So justthis week and I saw this really great quote that applies to that safe, easy,hard kind of thing. It said, Hey, taken on a challenge as a lot, like riding ahorse. If you're comfortable while you're doing it, you're probably doing itwrong. That's such a great mindset. Like I love it. That is why that show is sogood. Shout out to that show. If you haven't watched it yet, please get overthere and then give us a rink.

[00:16:54] Daniel: Yeah. Ted lasso is great. And what Iwould say. The, again, the words hard, the words, easy, kind of similar tobusy. I feel like they are just shortcuts, filler words to keep a more meaningfulconversation at arms distance. And so there, there honestly may be scenarios.It makes sense. Like you, you may not want to dive fully into all of thereasons why you declined to go work overseas on something.

[00:17:27] Daniel: And like, maybe you just don't want toget into that with an acquaintance that you really you're going to talk to youlike five minutes and then you're going to kind of move on with your day. Somaybe you just say, yeah, like it ended up, you know, that was, that was too hardor whatever it is. Again, maybe it's applicable in that scenario, but just keepin mind, you're, you're putting a more meaningful conversation at arms length.

[00:17:47] Daniel: And if you're doing that with yourspouse, if you're doing that with your best friends, kind of your community,that you really are trying to let into your life and have insight into yourlife, that's where I would challenge. That's probably not. Okay. Like justsaying something as hard that doesn't really say anything it's perfectlyacceptable to turn down something that would be really, for lack of a betterword, hard, but. There, there should be some, some more thought process behindit, like, okay, maybe I'm not going to go take this opportunity overseasbecause I need to honor the roots that I had built up in this place. Andthere's a lot going on and I'm not willing to sacrifice that for what could bea really good opportunity.

[00:18:34] Daniel: And so that is the idea behind mydecision. It was a hard decision, but there was a lot of thought that sort ofwent into that. And those are the types of things. You know, when somebodyasks, you know, Hey, why didn't you do this? If it's somebody that you want tolet into your life, go beyond saying that it's hard or, you know, whatever itis.

[00:18:53] Daniel: I feel like that's kind of mychallenge on some of these words from the chapter.

[00:18:59] Andrew: Well, and challenges of act throughthe word that I'd hope people would use. That's what I like to use instead ofhard. Because to me, that's a trigger for the right kind of mindset. If you saygoing overseas was going to be too hard to write your closing down thatconversation that could be happening.

[00:19:15] Andrew: And I would almost disagree with evenan acquaintance being shut down at an armed Flint conversation. Cause I don'tthink I have trouble finding an example of a time where. Turning anacquaintance down on being able to open up with them was a good idea. Maybe youhate the person that that might be fair, but generally I think if anybody isactually willing to be engaging with you, you should be willing to bevulnerable and open with them.

[00:19:41] Andrew: Unless you're just that pressed fortime, which I don't think most people are, but that said what we hope you dowith this as you shift your mindset from, instead of saying hard, you say, Hey,this is really challenging. And then. You're not just the person that says,well, that's hard. You're the person that tries to take on challengeshopefully.

[00:19:58] Andrew: And it shifts your mind towards seeingsomething like that. That's difficult as a good thing instead of a bad thing.And the same with, you know, something that's easy. You go, well, that's easy,but do I want easy? Right? I want challenging. And you go, all right, wellmaybe I take the harder route here. Maybe I take that more challenging routeand I'm going to make the decision to take that path.

[00:20:18] Andrew: It's the. The Robert Frost poem aboutthe path, least followed. Like that is one of my favorite poems. I wish I couldrecite it to you. We'll throw it in the show notes, but that is one of those.Examples of this mindset where you say, Hey, I'm not looking to do whateverybody else is doing because it's a lot of people just fall into that group.

[00:20:34] Andrew: And they don't really think about whatthey're doing or why they're doing it. They're going down that path of leastresistance they're going down the safe path, the easy path, the not too hardpath. And this can apply to so many different things, including conversationswith strangers or acquaintances.

[00:20:49] Andrew: Choose to have that experience, chooseto take the little extra time and use your brain to have words come out. Thatmeans something to somebody else. Instead of shutting down that conversation,at least that's my take on what you should be doing with your day.

[00:21:04] Daniel: Yeah.

[00:21:04] Daniel: I agree where there's, where there'sthe time. It makes sense. I I'm all about vulnerability. We've we've talkedabout Renee brown a few different times. I also do feel like one. You're notgoing to be able to practice that overnight, if that's not an easy thing foryou to do.

[00:21:22] Daniel: So, like just trying to extend alittle bit of grace to those and say, Hey, like, it's kind of going furtherinto what's going on in your life. Natural for you, maybe start with yourclosest relationships and don't say like, you need to be talking abouteverything with everybody. Right. So I would say that I would also say thatthere are 100% things that you just, you don't choose to share with everybodybecause a lot of our most important life decisions, a lot of what.

[00:21:54] Daniel: We really choose to do comes with awhole lot of context. Right. And that's something that people that are close tous have. So if I tell just a random bystander that I've turned down a huge jobfor something else that. It is, is significant to me personally, for a lot ofreasons. They may like think that I'm crazy or whatever.

[00:22:22] Daniel: They may not have the context toappreciate that conversation fully because it may take knowing me for 5, 10,15, 20 years. So that's, that's the thing that I think is it's just alwaysworth keeping in mind. I don't have a great example of it right now, but thatcontent. It's so, so important. And that's why I think it is important to stillbe mindful of what we say, who we say it to, you know how we say it?

[00:22:48] Andrew: No, that's a fair point. There areplenty of things that without the right context just would have a negativeeffect on people. Also, did you see while we're on the topic of Bernay brownvulnerability and Ted lasso, that there was a convergence event of those threethings?

[00:23:05] Daniel: No, but that sounds awesome.

[00:23:08] Andrew: So the actor who plays Kent. I forgothis name and by, I forgot. I think I only know his name once.

[00:23:14] Andrew: He was at ACL a couple of weeks agoand he did a talk on at like a live onstage talk with Bernay brown. I haven'tgotten to watch it yet, but I can only assume it was amazing, but they talkedabout vulnerability on Ted lasso and how his character evolved.

[00:23:29] Andrew: And it sounds like it was pretty cool.So. Just a heads up for those who think that you already know everything. Ifyou haven't watched that, that might be fun.

[00:23:43] Andrew: Okay. We're going to leave you guyswith a little bit of a challenge. I don't necessarily want you to completelychange the way you interact. Cause this is difficult. It is a hard mindset,right.

[00:23:52] Andrew: But be aware, try and be aware of thisweek after you listen to this episode, pay attention to the conversationsyou're having with those people around you and the words you're using. Are youthrowing out yet? You're busy unnecessarily. Are you making decisions based on.What is challenging or what is difficult.

[00:24:11] Andrew: And are you avoiding that kind ofgrowth opportunity? You don't necessarily have to do anything about it, but beaware. That's all I'm asking for this challenge is to be aware when you letyour vocabulary shape, how your day goes about and shapes how you interact withpeople around you. So thank you guys for joining us for today's episode.

[00:24:29] Andrew: We love having, y'all be here with us.Hopefully next time we'll have something interesting as well for you. And untilthen we look forward to connecting with.