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Tame Your Tongue

Use alternative words. Select a few powerful or even funny words, and get in the habit of substituting them for swear words. When it comes to personal taunts, try this Monty Python quip: "I wave my private parts at your aunties, you cheesy lot of second-hand electric donkey-bottom biters."

Start by eliminating casual swearing. Pretend that your sweet little grandmother or your young daughter is always next to you.

Think positively. Worry only enough to motivate you to prepare for a problem, then hope for the best. A positive mental attitude not only eliminates lots of swearing, it brings you contentment and brightens your personality.

Practice being patient. When you are stuck in line or in traffic, ask yourself if a few more minutes matters. Take a second to enjoy the moment instead of cursing the interruption.

Make your point politely. If someone suggests you're doing something incorrectly, your response can range from "Who gives a flying f...?" to "I think my way is faster." While we admire the alliteration of the first reply, the second offers a justification that the listener will appreciate.

Think of what you should have said. After you shout an expletive, simply say the tamer word you wished you had said. Over time, this exercise will train you to think and act differently.

Work at it. Breaking the swearing habit can be as tough as losing weight or giving up cigarettes. It takes practice, support and a true desire to be a better person -- not only by controlling your language, but the emotions that prompt you to swear.

O'Connor's list of top workplace offenders.

Related Items:
Sex in the workplace
Sample employee disciplinary document

E-mail Dan Skeen
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