Why Nice Should Be Banished From the English Language

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Entrepreneurs / 59 comments

Anybody who knows me well knows that I hate the word nice. Ironically I very rarely use the word hate, but when it comes to nice it’s the perfect adjective.

There’s a deeper point to my dislike for this word – it comes down to the power of language and how that impacts the type of life you live. If you’ve ever heard those people who just sound like they always have problems in life I challenge them to look at the language they’re using.

You’ll find words like “I can’t, it’s not fair, I’ll try, maybe someday, and it’s not possible”. Or how about “Never, ever, always” as in “I’m never going to be rich”, “I’m always having bad luck?” No wonder they’re getting nowhere, just look at what they’re telling themselves every day.

In this post I will attempt to explain how to lead a more fulfilling life and ensure you are talking the talk and walking the walk! You’ll find your clients will love you more too when you start using powerful words that attract them to you.

My mission if you should you choose to accept it

Since 2006, I’ve been on a mission to ensure people think twice before they say “Oh, that is a nice dress” or “We went to a nice concert” or “Isn’t it a nice day?”.

I still get emails or messages to this day from friends I admonished years ago about using the word nice, who finally understood what I meant and have tried changing up their lingo for the better.

In my mind, of the million or so English words in the dictionary there could not be any word more bland, boring and overused than nice.

I mean let’s face it when you ask your friend how their date was and they say `Oh he/she was nice’ you know straight off they were nothing to write home about. If someone goes to a show and they say it was `nice’ it doesn’t inspire me to want to go.

Nice often means lackluster. And in some cases I get that nice is the most fitting word to describe something. But in general – in my world anyway, if you use it around me I will pull you up on it.

The background story to my aversion to nice

This story is actually pretty funny and I often explain it to people who wonder why I react so strongly when they use nice. After hearing it they often understand where I’m coming from.

My friend who lives in New Zealand asked me a question back in early 2006.

F: “Nat, can I ask you a question?”

Me: “Sure. What’s up”

F: “So you know name shall remain nameless, well we finally hooked up last night. She’s liked me for ages and well, we were drinking and one thing led to another…”

Me: “Wow really? And how was it?”

F: “Well it was good but I think I screwed up. After we had sex she said ‘Oh my god that was amazing, how was it for you’ and I replied ‘Oh that was really nice’ Anyway she flipped out on me”.

Me: “Oh _____ you didn’t say nice did you? That’s like the biggest insult especially in bed”.

F: “But it’s all in the intonation, I said really nice!”

Me: “It doesn’t matter, it’s still the worst thing you could say, it means it’s nothing to write home about. I mean you could have just made some satisfied sound like ‘mmmmmm’.”

F: “Hmmm, I see your point”.

The Power of Language

Ok so that may not give you the full picture but basically from that moment on I started listening out for how frequently nice was used in everyday language. I was surprised at how often it came up in conversation even to describe something incredible.

So over the last 5 years I’ve been attempting to understand the deeper meaning to this and I’ve come up with some results and conclusions:

  • We are lazy. We use common words because it’s easy
  • We only know and use 10% of the words in the English language (made % up but close to true)
  • We don’t express our passions enough in our everyday language
  • We are used to using words that don’t inspire anything

This is a problem for several reasons. You are what you think. You are also what you say. Listen to people like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson or any other inspirational person.

Their everyday language is supercharged with powerful words like `juiced, victory, empowering’. They demand attention. They state their position in no uncertain terms. They change their mood and mindset through their use of words.

I’m pretty sure Richard does not say “It would be nice if we could get someone into space on Virgin Galactica some day’.

If you tell yourself everyday that you’re fat or lazy or not good enough – guess what that’s what you’ll start to believe.

If you tell yourself you’re amazingly talented, that life is wondrous, that you are extraordinarily lucky then you will be begin to believe this and will adjust your mindset accordingly. This will in turn lead to you living your best life and inspiring others to do the same.

That last sentence may sound a little over the top but try it. Who wants to live an ordinary life where things are nice and safe and bland and dull and boring. Not me.

By the way a wise person once said:

Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man voices, he begins to attract.

So tell yourself you will be rich and powerful and happy and fulfilled and you shall attract that, `one day’ at a time – even sooner if you believe in your spoken word.

And while I’ve had several friends berate me on my use of superlatives I’d far prefer to use these over nice any day because that’s how I think, that’s how I see my life, that’s how I operate and it’s why I’m positive, optimistic and blessed.

Someone pointed that out to me on Twitter the other day when they said I always sounded so positive about life no matter what – that’s because I am. If you don’t hang out with people who see the best in most situations and use words that make you feel invigorated, optimistic and excited then I suggest you take a look at your current company.

I realize that life gets in the way, it can often suck, things go wrong, you get crabby, stuff doesn’t work out and shit happens. But if you choose your words wisely you cans surpass all of these trivial moments and turn them around for the better.

What words do you use too frequently that aren’t helping you to have a different outlook on life and feel more grateful?

If you don’t agree with me on nice then let’s fight it out below 😉