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Four Words for Our Time

9/16/2018 10:50:37 PM

At LifeSmart, the topic of communication has been on our mind a lot. With students entering a new grade or environment, and summer vacations replaced with non-stop schedules, it’s easy to see how this can affect our communications—in a negative way. Add to that the news media hype (in their quest for ratings), a supercharged political climate, and promptings from our social media outlets, and we have a recipe for fireworks and communication breakdowns. It’s everywhere.
 
Effective communication is a two-way street. When we’re the initiator, miscommunication usually happens in the following ways:
  • We say things that were better left unsaid, like the common “self-control failure,” or comments that are simply unkind.
  • We choose the wrong words. Our rhetoric incites rather than shares.
  • We say it the wrong way. Our tone turns off and shuts down the conversation.
  • We use the wrong method (text or email versus verbal or in-person).
  • Or, worse yet, we use a combination of the above!
 
On the other hand, when we’re the receiver, we don’t always listen to understand. When we don’t see “eye to eye,” we can shut down or shout down instead of respectfully agreeing to disagree and letting it be. It’s next to impossible to compromise and reach solutions this way.
 
What to do? How can we increase the chances that our communications are productive, constructive, and worthy? One solution is to embed the following four words into our internal communication filter before we initiate or respond:

                                     HOW              IS             THIS           HELPFUL?
 
How might this look on a practical basis? The following table can serve as a guide:
 
                        More                                                  Less
                        Sharing                                               Shouting
                        Encouragement                                   Criticism
                        Good will                                            Acrimony
                        Temperance                                        Rashness
                        Unity                                                  Division
                        Compassion                                        Judgment
                        Other-centeredness                            Self-centeredness
                        Humility                                             Arrogance
                        Open-mindedness                               Closed-mindedness
                        Confirming                                         Assuming
                        Respect                                              Dishonor
                        Responsibility                                     Blame
                        Kindness                                             Rudeness
                        Decency                                             Crudeness
                        Truth                                                  Manipulation
                        Integrity                                             Deceit
                        Solutions                                            Complaints
                        Positivity                                            Negativity

 
If we all committed to the above, it would change the world. We’d achieve more understanding, respect, harmony, joy, and kindness, and even make better decisions.
 
So, let’s try taking these four words to heart and mind, and see how this changes us and how we relate to others. It’s a great goal for a new school year.


Tagged as: communication, miscommunication, relationships, goals, learning, life skills, friendships, reconciliation, mediation, character, integrity

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