Monthly Archives: April 2008

Perseverance

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62.

He later wrote,

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
Never, Never, Never, Never give up

Limit to Fear

I so agree with this guy. This trait is not that advanced in Asia though, thank goodness for that! Here, people can be shy and introverted and still be called quite normal, people can have the weirdest tastes and still be inherently normal.

The West is slowly but surely turning into the phobic-state, where everything and anything which one does not like about another can be taken as a crime or a mental disorder or something quivalent, as long as one is in a state of authority to do so. This is a pretty sad state of affairs to come to.

Something I seriously need to learn!

How to Think Before Speaking

“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Proverbs 17:28 American King James Bible

One of the most obvious and significant attributes to mankind is the ability to communicate through speech. An interesting corollary is that we can also communicate our thoughts in real time; we do not need to plan what we’re going to say before we say it. This has both advantages and disadvantages. It would be clearly undesirable for us to have to formulate our thoughts before we issue an immediate warning (“run!”) and communication would be dramatically slowed if we were unable to respond, naturally, to people in normal conversation.
On the other hand, this innate ability is often the source of consternation when what we say on the spur of the moment is something we later wish we had either not said, or said differently; it happens to everyone, sometimes, the trick is to remember when. Typically, this happens when we are responding quickly in stressful situations, or during confrontation, although it can happen at any time. Recognizing that we do not always say what we would like to communicate is an important realization – how to help mitigate that issue is not complex, but does require some behavioral changes. The goal is to be aware of when to talk naturally and fluidly, and when to think before we speak… and when to not speak at all.

Steps

  1. Observe yourself: Take note of when this happens to you. What circumstances led to you saying things that, later, you wish you had said differently. Does it happen mostly with one particular person (or group of people)? Is it most often in arguments or debates? Is it when you’re “on the spot” for information? Try to find a pattern. It might be helpful to start a journal of events so you can compare these at your leisure.
  2. Recognize your situation: After you determine what circumstances might be the most likely to produce this unwanted effect, try to be very observant about when those conditions appear to be manifesting. The more skilled you become at recognizing this, the better you will be at changing your approach.
  3. Observe the conversation: Now that you know you’re in one of “those” situations, the goal is for you to process information. Often when we respond in a less than appropriate way, it’s because we didn’t fully comprehend what was being said. This is the time to sit back and listen to what’s going on around you. Don’t start focusing on what you’re going to say; just absorb. Your mind will process this information in the background.
  4. Observe the people: Who is speaking and how do they communicate? Some people are very literal and some people use examples. Some people use a lot of facial expression and body language to augment their conversation whereas others rely on complex verbiage. How people convey information is a very good indicator of how they best absorb information.
  5. Formulate responses: Not just one, but consider your options. There are many different ways to say things and your goal here is to find the best way to convey what you want to say in a way that has a positive impact. Communication is primarily a function of the recipient so you have to communicate based on the listener.
  6. Consider the information: Is what you want to say Effective, Necessary, Accurate, Timely, and Appropriate (ENATA)? If you are just responding because other people are talking, then it’s possible your communication doesn’t fit the ENATA model. If not, then sit back and continue to listen. You want what you say to have impact, not just make noise.
  7. Gauge the reaction: Is the information you’re going to present formulated in a way to make a positive impact. Creating a negative atmosphere will guarantee failure in communications. You want people to understand that you are contributing rather than detracting. It only takes once to ruin your ability to communicate during that time. Identify how the listeners will react.
  8. Be thoughtful about your tone: How you say it is, in many ways, as important as what you say. Tone of voice can convey enthusiasm and sincerity, or it can rebuff and show sarcasm, and as most people have experienced, what we say can be taken in the wrong way. The most likely reason is that the tone of voice, what was said, body and facial language, as well as content, were not all thoughtfully combined to integrate with the listener’s most effective method of communication.
  9. Communicate: You now know what you’ll say, why it’s ENATA, how you’ll say it and the most likely reaction. Wait for an appropriate break in the conversation and speak. It’s usually best not to interrupt, although there are occasions when that will work best. When to interrupt is beyond the scope of this document.
  10. Repeat Step 1: While you’re talking, consider what you’re saying and keep a close watch on the reactions as they emerge. After the conversation is over, review the whole process again in your mind and note what you might have done differently and why. This is an ongoing process. Over time, you will refine and improve – you will become a better communicator and people will accept your responses with a more open mind.

Tips

  • When you say something you shouldn’t have, fix it in your mind to avoid that specific situation in the future.
  • Make sure your comments are relevant & appropriate to the conversation. Don’t stray from the topic – stay focused.
  • This will take time – it should become a part of your life. As you get better, you will be regarded as someone whose opinion is valued.
  • You will often be considered more mysterious by not needing to say every thought that crosses your mind. Eventually, people will come to the conclusion that you know more than you’re letting on.
  • Wait 5 or 10 seconds before responding. This gives you time to formulate a): if a response is required, and b): an appropriate and thoughtful response.
  • Remember the famous and well-known quote by Abraham Lincoln: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” If you haven’t planned your comments well, give yourself some more time to think.

Warnings

  • If you do not know what you’re talking about, do not try to be convincing. It’s OK to express an opinion but make sure people know you’re speculating.
  • If people aren’t actually addressing you, they may not want your opinion. Try to tone down how much you force yourself into conversations.

–wikiHow

Hunger

Meanwhile, most of the poorest of the poor suffer silently, too weak for activism or too busy raising the next generation of hungry. In the sprawling slum of Haiti’s Cité Soleil, Placide Simone, 29, offered one of her five offspring to a stranger. “Take one,” she said, cradling a listless baby and motioning toward four rail-thin toddlers, none of whom had eaten that day. “You pick. Just feed them.”

Is this what we have been forced into?