Stories I only tell my friends: The Power Of Belief-System

November 6, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — mylittleblackpen @ 1:11 am

Step 4: choose your words carefully

A person who says what he likes usually ends up hearing what he doesn’t like. Be tactful. Tact consists of choosing one’s words carefully and knowing how far to go. It also means knowing what to say and what to leave unsaid. Talent without tact may not always be desirable. Words reflect attitude. Words can hurt feelings and destroy relationships. More people have been hurt by an improper choice of words than by any natural disaster. Choose what you say rather than say what you choose. That is the different between wisdom and foolishness.

Excessive talking does not mean communication. Talk less; say more. A fool speaks without thinking; a wise man thinks before speaking. Words spoken out of bitterness can cause irreparable damage. The way parents speak to their children in many instances shapes their children’s destiny.

Spoken words can’t be retrieved

A farmer slandered his neighbor. Realizing his mistake, he went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness. The preacher told him to take a bag of feathers and drop them in the center of town. The farmer did as he was told. Then the preacher asked him to go and collect the feathers and put them back in the bag. The farmer tried but couldn’t as the feathers had all blown away. When he returned with the empty bag, the preacher said, “The same thing is true about your words. You dropped them rather easily but you cannot retrieve them, so be very careful in choosing your words”.

Step 5: don’t criticize and complain

When I talk of criticism I refer to negative criticism. Why should we not criticize? When a person is criticized, he becomes defensive. Does that mean we should never criticize, or can we give positive criticism? A critic is like a back-seat driver who drives the driver mad.

Positive criticism – What is constructive criticism? Criticize with a spirit of helpfulness rather than as put-down. Offer solutions in your criticism. Criticize the behavior, not the person, we hurt their self-esteem. The right to criticize comes with the desire to help. As long as the act of criticizing does not give pleasure to the giver, it is okay. When giving criticism becomes a pleasure, it is time to stop.

Some suggestions for giving criticism that motivates others:

  • Be a coach – criticize with a helpful attitude. A coach criticizes to help improve performance of the athlete.
  • Understanding and concern will act as a motivator.
  • The attitude should be corrective rather than punitive.
  • Be specific, rather than saying things like “You always” or “you never”. Vague criticism causes resentment.
  • Get your facts right. Don’t jump to conclusions. We all have the right to our opinions but we don’t have the right to incorrect facts. Don’t rush to criticize.
  • Maintain your cool but firm.
  • Criticize to persuade, not intimidate.
  • If criticism is given appropriately, it will reduce the need for repetition.
  • Criticize in private not in public. Why? Because it maintains goodwill whereas public criticism can be humiliating.
  • Give the other person an opportunity to explain his side.
  • Show them how they would benefit from correcting their mistake.
  • Criticize the performance, not the performer.
  • Don’t express personal resentment.
  • Simply point out the loss arising from the action and the adverse consequences of not correcting it.
  • Ask for suggestions for improvement.
  • Question the action, not the intent. If intent is in question, then it is better to terminate the relationship.
  • Keep criticism in perspective. Don’t overdo it. Criticism is like giving medication. The medication should be the right mixture with a perfect dosage. Too much will have adverse effects and too little will be ineffective. Similarly, criticism should be kept in perspective. Given in a positive way in the right dosage, it can work wonders.
  • If people who are being criticized accept their mistake and come up with positive suggestions, congratulate them.
  • Close on a positive note with appreciation.

Receiving criticism – There may be times when we are criticized, justly or unjustly. The greatest people in the world have been criticized. Justified criticism can be very helpful and should be taken positively as feedback. Unjustified criticism really is a compliment in disguise. Average people hate winners. When people are not successful, critics have nothing to talk about.

The only way you will never be criticized is if you do nothing, say nothing or have nothing. You will end up being a big nothing. Unjust criticism comes from two sources:

  1. Ignorance. When criticism comes out of ignorance, it can easily be eliminated or corrected by bringing awareness.
  2. Jealously. When criticism comes out of jealously, take it as compliment in disguise. You are being unjustly criticized because the other person wants to be where you are. The tree that bears the most fruits also gets the most stones.

An ability to accept constructive criticism is a sign of poor self-esteem. Suggestions for accepting criticism:

  • Take it in the right spirit. Accept it graciously rather than grudgingly.
  • Learn from it.
  • Accept it with an open mind, evaluate it and if it makes sense, implement it.
  • Be thankful to the person who gives constructive criticism because he means well and has helped you.
  • A person with high self-esteem accepts positive criticism and becomes better, no bitter.

The problem with most people is they would rather be praised and loses than be criticized and win.

Complaints – Some people are chronic complainers. If it is hot, it is too hot. If it is cold, it is too cold. Every day is a bad day. They complain even if everything goes right. Why is it not a good idea to complain? Because 50% of the people don’t care if you have got problem and the other 50% are happy that you have got a problem. What is the point of complaining? Nothing comes out of it. It becomes a personality trait. Does that mean we should never complain or invite complaints? Not at all. Just like criticism, if it is done in a positive way, complaints can be very useful. A constructive complaint:

  • Shows that the complainer cares
  • Gives the receiver of complaints a second chance to correct himself.

Step 6: smile and be kind


A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those who give it. It happens in a flash, and the memory of it may last forever. None are so rich that they can get along without it, and none so poor that they cannot be richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be begged, bought, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is worth nothing to anyone until it is given away. In the course of the day, some of your acquaintances may be too tired to give you smile. Give them one of yours. Nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.

From: The best of … Bits & Pieces. NJ 1994

Cheerfulness flows from goodness. A smile can be fake or genuine. The key is to have a genuine one. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. It is easier to smile then frown. It improves face value. A smile is contagious and is an inexpensive way to improve looks. A smiling face is always welcome. Who likes to be around a grouch? No one, except maybe a bigger grouch. A warm sincere smile shows through just like an insincere one.

Step 7: put positive interpretation on other people’s behavior

In the absence of sufficient facts, people instinctively put a negative interpretation on others’ actions or inactions. Some people suffer from “paranoia”; they think the world is out to get them. That is not true. By starting on positive note, we have a better chance of building a pleasing personality resulting in good relationships.

For example, how often have we put through a call and not gotten a reply from the other party for two days and the first thought that comes to our mind is, “They never cared to return my call” or “They ignored me”. That is negative. May be:

  • They tired, but couldn’t get through
  • They left the message we didn’t get
  • They had an emergency
  • They never got the message

There could be many reasons. It is worth giving the benefit of doubt to the other person and starting on a positive note.

A Little Black Pen

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