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Things Smart People Don't Say

These ideas are from Entrepreneur magazine and apply to the workplace. But I think they should apply to life in general. What you say reflects your attitudes toward yourself, others and the world in general.

No matter how talented you are or what you've accomplished, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way people see you and can forever cast you in a negative light. It's important to think about what you say before you engage your mouth. 


I have not included the entire list here, but these were always my pet peeves.

1. It's not fair. 


Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naive. Don't fall into the entitlement trap. Do not be the victim. 


2. It's the way we've always done it.

Einstein said that trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was a sign of insanity. Saying this is the way it’s always been done not only makes you sound lazy and resistant to change, but it could make your boss wonder why you haven’t tried to improve things on your own. If you really are doing things the way they’ve always been done, there’s almost certainly a better way.

3. It's not my fault

It’s never a good idea to cast blame. Be accountable. If you had any role -- no matter how small -- in whatever went wrong, own it. If not, offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your boss and colleagues draw their own conclusions about who’s to blame.

The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for their actions. This makes people nervous. Some will avoid working with you altogether, and others will strike first and blame you when something goes wrong.


4. That's not in my job description

This often sarcastic phrase makes you sound as though you’re only willing to do the bare minimum required to keep getting a paycheck, which is a bad thing if you like job security.

If your boss asks you to do something that you feel is inappropriate for your position, as opposed to morally or ethically inappropriate, the best move is to complete the task eagerly. Later, schedule a conversation with your boss to discuss your role in the company and whether your job description needs an update. This ensures that you avoid looking petty. It also enables you and your boss to develop a long-term understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.


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