Stop Saying “Just”
Written by Invictus Athlete Josh Littauer
Have you ever been in a group of people and when asked each member of the group uses the word “just” to describe something they do or are? It seems commonplace, or maybe a simple nuance, but the word just has lots of meaning and implications. “I’m just going to go to get ice cream.” “I’m just a nurse.” “I’m just a secretary.” “I’m just going to do the CrossFit class.” Regardless of context there seems to be a few things we can deduce by using the word just.
The Multiple Definitions of “Just”
As an adjective it is used to describe the behavior that is morally right or fair. As an adverb it is used to describe exactly or only. In the first case we can see how just is used to describe how fair a situation is or in justifying an action or thought. The second case uses just to describe the singularity of a topic, action, or thought. While both have appropriate places, I’d like to look at some contexts in which “just” can be a word of limitation or even negativity.
The Implication That What You Are Doing Is Not Enough
When used on yourself, the word just often implies that what you think about the things you are doing is not enough. “Oh I’m just a teacher.” “I’m just a sales person.” “I just did the Rx weight.” Whatever the context, by adding the word just before describing something you do or have done minimizes the importance or validity of that action.
For example, if you were with a group of people and someone asked you what you do, and your response is, “Oh I’m just a teacher.” How do you think the others will think about what you do? Chances are they will think you either, don’t enjoy your job, don’t take it seriously, or that you don’t feel like you’re doing enough.
In the context of fitness, if your coach asked how the workout went and your immediate response is, “I just used 65 pounds.” That immediately diminishes the fact that you put in a great effort and got in a good workout, regardless of what the weight was. Part of this comes from feeling inadequate or belittling ourselves for scaling the workout, and maybe some from embarrassment.
It Minimizes The Achievements Of Others
We must be careful with how we use the word just in another context as well. When used on others. “Did you just do the Rx weight?” “You just did the class?” While that person may have felt good about what they did, by adding the word just it adds a tone of negativity.
It is important to own where you’re at. “I used 65 pounds.” That sounds much more confident and confidence in your speech is reflected in your actions and therefore in your life as well. When we exude confidence we are able to more easily attract positive influences, create opportunities and achieve goals.
Stay Hungry. Stay Humble.
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