A few years ago, I was telling an acquaintance of mine all the things I needed to do.
She was a couple of years out from recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
She told me her neurosurgeon told her to stop using the word, “need”.
He told her there are only two things the human body needs for survival.
Oxygen and Water. That’s it.
A human will die the fastest if those two needs aren’t meant.
He didn’t even include food or shelter on the human “need” list.
Because technically one can survive without shelter or food, as long as you have oxygen, and water. The human body can survive without food for quite a while.
He challenged her to reframe her needs. And she challenged me to do the same.
To start with I had to count how many times I used the word need in a single day. My number was in the 20's.
Then once I realized how much I was using the word need, I had to start to change my language.
What was I really trying to accomplish when I said, “I need to”.
When I started the challenge, I was super stressed and overwhelmed by everything.
By pausing and the thinking about how to reframe “me need”, it forced me to slow down and think what I was trying to do.
What I realized was the less I used “need” as my default, my mind was clearer and I felt less overwhelmed.
It’s still a skill I practice to this day, to strengthen what I want to accomplish and gain clarity on how to prioritize everything.
I also will admit, I totally cringe when people use the word “need” as their default word.
Here are some examples:
“I need to get this blog post written”
“I get to write a blog post.”
“I need to make dinner”
“I’m getting hungry, I want something to eat”
or “My family is hungry, time to make dinner”
Using “need” in the business world.
“Need” is one of those words that is used multiple times a day, by multiple people. This was probably one of the hardest places I started changing my vocabulary.
“I need this by 3pm”
“The deadline is 3pm.”
“I need to get this task done before I go home”
“This task has to be completed before I leave for the night.”
And did I still occasionally say I need this by 3pm? Yep, I did.
It’s not about getting perfect all the time, it’s about taking to small pause to consciously think about your words.
When you’re starting out reframing, the word “need” it’s okay for your reframes to sound “weird” or “off”.
This is a new neuropath way you are creating in your brain. Give yourself patience and time to build this change into you life.
I also get that it’s a odd reframe for an obligation to be reframed as “get to”, but to start reducing your “need” to use the word “need”, it’s a quick replacement.
And when you catch yourself say “I need” don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge that you caught yourself and move on. This will be become a lot easier the more your practice.
As my acquaintance challenged me, I challenge you to reduce how many times you “need” something during the day.