There’s a great lie many of us use throughout life called a quantifier.
A quantifier indicates the quantity of something. Anytime you insert quantifiers in a statement about what you can or can’t do, you may inadvertently limit your capacity to succeed.
Here are some examples:
“Everyone knows that won’t work”
“He is always mad at me”
“I can’t do that because no one would like it”
Can you guess which word or term is the quantifier in each of the above sentences?
If you guessed “everyone” and “always” for 1 and 2, you’re right!
If you said, “no one” for the last sentence, you’re right again!
So how many people is “no one”?
How could you possibly know if zero people would like it – whatever “it” is? If you spoke this statement around me, I would ask you, “No one? No one would like it? Are you sure?”
I’d ask you that question because I would want to help you understand that you are limiting yourself. You may be right, of course, but you may also be making up an excuse.
Many excuses are made up of quantifiers.
“No one loves me”
“I never get what I want”
“He yells at me all the time!”
When you justify your behavior or words using a quantifier, you keep yourself in a box of limitation. You set yourself up to fail before ever trying.
I hate to say this, but we often use quantifiers to take the easy way out!
I’ve found that my girlfriend and I do this quite a bit. We end up correcting each other, calling each other out on our use of quantifiers. It’s funny and annoying sometimes.
One day she told me, “Everyone knows that won’t work.”
I said, “That’s not true! Not everyone. Some may think it won’t work, but not everyone.”
She had to agree. Of course, I’m not always challenging her wording. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep the relationship.
But I did challenge her at that time because she was giving up an opportunity that might have been beneficial to her, so I wanted to make sure she knew that what she was saying was limiting her choices.
Be aware of the quantifiers you use in your language. Try to avoid saying “always” and “never”, or “everyone” and “no one.” Those words may help you strengthen your point. but they are usually not an accurate representation of reality.
Words are used to describe our reality, so choose the ones that represent that reality as close as possible. Unless you want to win an argument:
“You never take me out to eat!”
It seems that quantifiers can have a place in language, even if they aren’t entirely true.