If you regularly use these 8 phrases, you’re more switched on and aware than the average person

Think you are pretty switched on?

Well, the words you choose can reveal it. As Scientific American notes, the way we think determines how we speak. 

Today, we dive into some key phrases that suggest you are actively engaged, questioning assumptions and considering different angles. 

If you don’t find yourself relating to these phrases, fear not. Studies show language works the other way, too – the specific words and phrases we use actually influence our thinking patterns. 

Put simply, speaking in a more switched-on manner may actually make you more aware and present.

So, for those of you who want to operate at a higher level, using these key phrases might provide the mental hack you need to get there. 

Let’s get to ‘em. 

1) “Let’s look at this from his/her/their perspective.”

Do you often find yourself not just saying this phrase but actively trying to imagine yourself in others’ shoes?

If so, it’s a good sign. 

As noted by researcher and author David W. Johnson, Ed.D, “If a person cannot take the perspective of opponents, then his or her understanding of the issue is limited and incomplete.” 

Basically, seeing other viewpoints is crucial for having productive discussions and finding common ground

And by saying, “Let’s look at this from his/her/their perspective,” you demonstrate just this; a willingness to step outside your own mental frame of reference. 

You’re not just blindly judging the situation through your own lens. Instead, you’re flexing your perspective-taking muscles to fully understand the motivations and contexts you may be missing. This allows for more progressive dialogue and collaborative problem-solving.

2) “To my knowledge…”

I had a mentor in the finance world who always used this particular phrase.

Instead of stating things that were nuanced as definitive facts, he would preface opinions or analyses with “To my knowledge…”

For example:

“To my knowledge, the new regulatory changes will impact our capital requirements starting next quarter.”

Or: “To my knowledge, exploring hedges for our emerging markets exposure could mitigate some of the recent volatility risks.”

By using this caveat, he acknowledged that his understanding derived from his current knowledge base, which had its limitations. He recognized that new information or additional perspectives could update or alter that understanding.

This reveals a mindset of intellectual honesty and an awareness of the need for ongoing learning. 

Rather than stating opinions as dogmatic facts, the phrase creates room for other valid viewpoints or updates based on evolving knowledge.

This willingness to acknowledge the limitations of one’s knowledge base is a defining trait of a smart, switched-on thinker. It allows for more productive discourse and aligns with a growth mindset of constantly updating one’s beliefs and skillsets.

3) “On the bright side…”

It might be a bit cliché, but this phrase demonstrates an ability to maintain a positive, appreciative mindset even amid challenges. 

Rather than ruminating on what’s lacking or going wrong, it refocuses attention on what’s going well or what opportunities exist.

Numerous psychological studies have linked this practice of gratitude to greater well-being and life satisfaction. 

By highlighting the bright side, an individual reinforces a mindset of abundance over scarcity. Their language doesn’t dwell on perceived deficiencies but instead gives voice to the elements worth appreciating.

This habit reflects an emotionally intelligent mindset that doesn’t ignore struggles but chooses to counterbalance them with an acknowledgment of positives. 

It’s indicative of someone truly at peace who recognizes life’s difficulties while still embracing its joys.

4) “What’s the bigger picture?”

When I was growing up, my dad would often say, “You can’t make a 3-pointer from under the basket.” It was a weird one for him as we don’t play or watch a lot of basketball where I’m from. 

Anyway, as you might have guessed, he meant that I needed to step back and consider the full context to make the best decisions.

Asking, “What’s the bigger picture here?” or similar questions demonstrates an ability to see beyond the immediate details and consider the broader implications. It shows a switched-on awareness that situations are complex, with multiple factors and perspectives to account for.

The benefits of this higher-level thinking are well-acknowledged by experts and leaders. But perhaps the legendary investor Ray Dalio put it best when he wrote

“Seeing things from the higher level isn’t just seeing other people’s point of view; it’s also being able to see every situation, yourself, and others in the situation as though you were looking down on them as an objective observer. If you can do this well, you will see the situation as ‘another one of those,’ see it through everyone’s eyes, and have good mental maps or principles for deciding how to handle it.”

5) “I can see why you’d feel that way.”

if you notice someone using these phrases youre dealing with a cerebral narcissist If you regularly use these 8 phrases, you're more switched on and aware than the average person

When someone uses the phrase “I can see why you’d feel that way” and truly means it, it signifies a person with deep, empathetic awareness

It conveys genuine understanding and acceptance, making the listener feel heard, respected, and validated in their experience. 

Using this phrase creates a safe atmosphere conducive to open and honest dialogue. It signals that all emotions carry significance and merit thoughtful consideration. 

Rather than superficially nodding along, it showcases a switched-on ability to step outside oneself and an ability to resonate with the emotional realities of others, which is crucial for fostering mutual understanding. 

6) “Can you tell me more about your thoughts on this?”

This is another phrase that suggests a high level of empathy. 

Rather than making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, posing this open-ended question conveys an eagerness to learn where the other person is coming from. 

It signals a willingness to set aside one’s own viewpoint momentarily and instead prioritize comprehending the nuances of someone else’s stance.

Aware individuals recognize that people’s beliefs and feelings are shaped by their unique experiences and contexts. Using this prompt provides an invitation to share those influences without fear of premature judgment or dismissal.

7) “There’s no use in crying over spilled milk.”

I fondly remember my grandmother using this old adage. 

Sometimes, she’d say it quite literally about spilled milk, but other times, she used it to communicate a deeper meaning: the importance of letting go of past mistakes and accepting that certain things cannot be changed.

Dwelling excessively on past errors or misfortunes serves no productive purpose. The switched-on individual recognizes this truth and instead chooses to focus their energy on gleaning lessons from those experiences and determining a constructive path forward.

Exhibiting this attitude signifies a keen self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Rather than wallowing in regret or dwelling on what cannot be changed, the speaker prioritizes radical acceptance of the present moment. 

They refuse to remain psychologically anchored to previous missteps, which would only breed negativity, stress, and stagnation.

By letting go of what’s done and moving on, they cultivate inner peace and equilibrium. Their state of mind doesn’t become hijacked by perceived failures or disappointments. 

This mindset is crucial for maintaining a balanced perspective and equanimity amid life’s inevitable ups and downs.

8) “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”

This is another phrase a mentor taught me. 

And it’s kind of genius. If I were hiring employees for a business, I’d love to hear this. 

By admitting “I don’t know,” the speaker displays a refreshing honesty and humility. They don’t try to bluff or pretend to have all the answers.

The crucial second part – “but I’ll find out” – demonstrates an eagerness to learn and fulfill their responsibilities. It shows an engaged mindset, driven to seek out missing information rather than remaining willfully ignorant.

This willingness to admit gaps and actively work to fill them reveals someone who values learning over ego. They don’t see “I don’t know” as a source of embarrassment but as a simple state of being that can be remedied through diligent effort.

By vowing to find out what they’re currently missing, the individual demonstrates an engaged, proactive mindset. 

This attitude distinguishes them as a switched-on thinker who embraces the pursuit of knowledge as an endless journey rather than a destination.

The bottom line 

That just about wraps it up from me today, folks. 

If you regularly use these phrases, well done. You are probably much more clued in than the average person. 

If not, well, there’s no time like the present. Simply starting to use these phrases can help to reset your mindset. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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