The “How” Of Communication

Approx 2 min read

During this communication series one of the major points I have made an effort to emphasize is the importance of the how. That is acknowledging the spirit with which we communicate, with the knowledge that the person on the other end most likely does not have any telepathic superpowers. Ridiculous right? What do I mean by that? Well, the people we interact with can’t read our minds. They can’t scrutinise our hearts… they’re just not built that way. It has got its perks. At the same time it has moments when it sucks especially when we realise that we aren’t built that way either. We aren’t telepaths. (Sorry wannabe Jean Grey, Professor X.) So what’s the big deal? Well there is a big deal. Our intentions are always up in the air to be assumed by the person on the other end of the conversation and this is done based on the way we communicate. Words matter. 100%. Calling someone fat is different from saying they are plus size. Calling someone skinny sounds several times more negative than saying they are slim. Even positive statements like gorgeous and sexy have vastly different connotations, so the words we use matter… but underneath that is the ever important fabric of the how.

To simplify this concept I’ll focus on gifts. Everyone loves gifts. Or at least they should. Gifts are a form of communication. They communicate affection. They express love. However the manner in which the gift is given is often more important than the gift. Think about the gift of a car. A car is a lovely gift. Expensive, easy to show off, practical and often necessary. 

Consider this scenario:

“Son – we wanted to do this for you because we know that you are incredibly responsible and trustworthy. You’ve displayed wonderful traits to your younger sibling and we know you’ll always make the right choice. So it is our pleasure to gladly present you with this…”

“What?”

Voilà. Car keys in a box. Maybe a letter and someone taking photos of your reaction. You’re at your favourite restaurant and it was totally unexpected.

Or…

You feel a sharp pain on your forehead. It’s six in the morning. What was that? You look on the floor. There’s a tangle of keys, most which you recognise and one which doesn’t look familiar except it has a popular logo belonging to a certain vehicle manufacturer. 

“Don’t lose the keys or eff up the car.”

The gift is the same. Perhaps the joy of the gift remains but significant value is lost in the second way of expression compared to the first.

The way things are done can be the more memorable thing. That’s why “the way he proposed” is so important. The effort and the time taken to understand the person you’re proposing to and to adequately display your affection for her is just as important as the ring… but that’s a story for a different day.

My apologies for the unannounced hiatus. I hope this rams home one of my very recent posts to do with – unannounced hiatuses 😂🙌🏾

See you tomorrow.

Stay awesome.

Bullying: Make Or Break

Photo cred: Talkspace

One of the major contributing factors to a lack of confidence is bullying, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. I am sure we’ve heard that old childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Wrong.

Our brains are a collection of all of the information we “download” throughout our lives. Therefore it is not an astronomical leap of logic to assume that the words that others say (or their behaviour towards us) affect us in some way. It can in fact affect us massively.

Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour towards someone

In the UK 1.5 million young people bullied in 2016

145 000 bullied everyday

14% consider suicide – 7% attempt it

Source: www.bullying.co.uk

You’d think that those that engage in bullying suffer tremendous lack, therefore they need this sense of superiority to make up for what they don’t have. Maybe they do suffer lack in one area of their life (emotional, social, etc) but I chose these statistics to point out that even a first world environment like the UK can still breed people who seek to harm others. Monetary lack may have nothing to do with it. Therefore if you are experiencing bullying – don’t allow yourself to sink deeper into self-pity by believing you are alone. You are NOT alone. And one other thing – yes the words and actions performed by a bully may hurt you… but guess what? They don’t need to define you. In fact – they can be the very springboard you need to flourish more than you’ve ever done before. It’s all in the attitude.

Intrigued? Get ready for two case studies coming up tomorrow.

What Confidence IS NOT

I could have made this whole series one long post but I know not everyone has the time to invest in such a thing and because I want to impact as many lives positively as I possibly can I’ve split it into several chunks that are easy to swallow.

The things I will touch on this week actually work. I’ve seen them in action. I recently gave a 25 min presentation on Confidence and Self-esteem to a group of teens. On the first day the smallest one from this group, this tiny little girl, could not look anyone in the eye and would waffle or even remain mute when put on the spot. On the 3rd day this same girl, boldly said something in a presentation I will remember for a very long time. 

Confidently she declared, “I am who am I am. I am me.”

That’s what I want everyone who reads this blog this week to come away feeling.

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.” — Maxwell Maltz

“Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree , it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein

There are some things confidence is not, namely:

  • presumptuous
  • proud
  • disrespectful
  • beating oneself up
  • feeling unlovable, incompetent or awkward
  • something that fluctuates day by day
  • something that you CANNOT build (yes that is indeed a double negative)

If you tick any of these boxes, this series is for you.

 

Confidence

photo cred: https://youtu.be/hLtxKNgBzUg

For the next 7 days we are going to talk about ‘Confidence’. This will cover ‘Self-Confidence’, ‘Self-Esteem’ and ‘Self-Love’. I’m genuinely stoked about what we’re going to walk through together and I am 100% convinced that this will impact your life positively. If you’ll be a darling and be your brother’s keeper, share the content that will be coming up in the next week with someone who needs it.

Creativity: Killer Ending

photo cred: Fog Hill Of The Five Elements

I remember considering writing a story for my collection: ‘Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories’. I shelved the idea for later as I felt the fantasy element would clash mightily with the more believable stories in the collection. I am certain my high school English teacher would be proud of that decision. I did come up with a killer ending for it though and would like to use it as an example of a story I would like to read.

The plot goes like this: Imagine a world where certain deities ruled over kingdoms that were basically territories equivalent to continents. These beings were imbued with great power and mirrored certain elements. The ruler of the kingdom to the South was made of flames, to the North ice, to the West earth, to the East gold and central air. The being of air was the weakest and the most humble but God had granted him territory from all the other 4 nations with the greatest resources. The 4 conspired to murder him but he got wind of it (LOL) and escaped. He hid himself somewhere as they held a meeting to divide the spoils. Meanwhile Air was listening in…

“So I propose we split the land equally, each one of us incorporating the land on their side,” Gold’s words were gilt-edged and sweet as honey.

“Right… that’s because you know the mines are to the East you sly dog!” scoffed Fire. Immediately he started boiling with murderous rage… the same rage that had inspired him to plot the murder of Air. “Keep this up and you and all your kin will be molten.”

Worry rippled across Gold’s face. He simply nodded. Ice laughed a bitterly cold laugh, she shook her head and snowflakes slowly drifted down to the ancient oak roundtable between them. “I don’t know what’s stoked your flames so, but keep this up and none of us will ever see the next millennium.”

Fire shot to his feet like a rocket, flames flaring behind him like a wedding dress burning with eagerness to shoot a fiery retort… but found that he couldn’t. Air had had enough evidence of Fire’s murderous intents and lack of restraint. Air was finally going to use his God-given right. See, the others thought Air to be the weakest of the 5 rulers of the earth… this was in fact false, he was just the most cautious with his great gift. He knew it was to be used only in the advent of a serious threat to the peace of the land. So with foam tears of carbon dioxide dripping down his face, Air pulled the Breath of Life out of Fire leaving him to sputter and die right there on the roundtable; collapsing into a cloud of ashes, leaving the other 3 deities shellshocked.

Tomorrow we start the Confidence series. Buckle up.

 

 

Creativity: Exposure (Books)

I am a little annoyed as I have my posts planned 3 days in advance and yet I somehow missed posting on Friday night. The good news is I will double post tomorrow to make up for it as we begin and conclude a 3-part miniseries called ‘Creativity: Exposure’.

So… Creativity is a function of our minds. As we continue to stretch our mental muscles there is inevitably going to be a wall ahead of us. This is because our minds can only create with the information they take in. We don’t create new information – not truly, we manipulate existing information and change it into something new. This means that the intake of information is necessary for creativity to keep being vibrant and fresh.

What if I read the same type of information all the time? Does that not limit the creativity of what I produce? I recall a time when all I would read ‘Romance’ novels and all I would produce would have romantic connotations. To broaden the scope of ones ideas it is therefore necessary to read widely, touching on all genres and reading books from different eras. See how you grow in terms of imagination when you do just that.

Books are crystallised sources of information that may have been compiled over a lifetime. That’s why we have all these books. The more you read the more “lives” you live in this one that you’re given.

Books are simply exposure in the form of pages.

I never used to like novels. I started reading out of a sense of competition. Someone in my class in 7th grade bragged to me about how they had filled their entire library slip and laughed at how I only had three books ticked off of mine. I was so annoyed I secretly vowed to read more and fill more slips that he ever would. That’s when I discovered the amazement of other people’s creativity. That ushered in the many trips to the hundreds of worlds I have visited while seated on a bench or lying in my bed. That’s how I ended up reading over 350+ novels in my time at St. George’s College… My tip to you? Read for that exposure and watch your creativity blossom.

The Pit

Nobody likes the pit. It isn’t a pleasant place to be in, but when you look back more often than not you’ll have a different perspective of the pit. The pit isn’t always an intended destination, but it can turn out to be for your good. The pit is the place where despair and desperation marry, their union seeks to take control of your life and smother you with their baby, depression… if you overcome this trio however, the pit will be where your character is built and you develop the traits required for you to flourish when you achieve what was once thought impossible. If you let it, the pit will weed out all of your shortcomings and jumpstart your transformation to being that man or woman you aspire to be.

One of my favourite true stories involves a bragging annoying teenager who was loved by his father above all his many brothers. He was egotistical and vain and would often share what he envisioned himself becoming, demeaning his siblings in the process. What did they do when the favourite child’s pride became too much for them? They threw him into a pit and told their father that he’d gone missing. In the pit the arrogant teen’s pride was instantly stripped away, replaced by a deep appreciation of life and everything that he had and a realisation of the value of others. In the pit he stopped envisioning things falling into his laps and developed a mentality of discipline and hard work steeped in iron-wrought principles that would not bend under intense pressure. It was in the pit that the metamorphosis he needed for his visions to come true occurred and years later when he was promoted to be the most important man on earth, the pride he had prior did not destroy him. On top of that he went on to forge an unbreakable, genuinely positive bond with his siblings. The pit gave him humility and the ability to forgive. That guy was called Joseph.

So the next time you find yourself in the pit, a pit you could have fallen into because of your own ignorance or poor decisions; or one where you might just be a victim of circumstances, look up and grasp the image of the sky above knowing that…

the time in the pit could be what propels you way above the clouds, far beyond the stratosphere to leave you dancing among the stars.

This marks the conclusion to the Individuality series. I will definitely return here once I’ve completed reading ‘Slight Edge’ and implementing more of these techniques in my own life. See you tomorrow for the start of the Creativity series.