“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra
Years ago I heard Tony Robbins say, “The power of your life is the power of your communication with others, but especially with yourself.”
Now that statement is a test. If your mental response is, “Well I don’t like Tony Robbins or Tony Robbins is a putz,” then you failed. That is a Strawman and Ad Hominem. Both are logical fallacies. The power is understanding how efficient or inefficient, communication is.
I’ll break this up into a series of examples. The first is the process of labeling or pigeonholing. It can be thought of as compartmentalizing. It’s perhaps a process of early man quickly accessing adversary or friend, food, procreation, etc. There seems to be this NEED to align people with labels. It’s a form of intellectual complacency. Rather than think, respond, interact, absorb, we want to label people to quickly categorize them. Now there are harsh forms of this in the form of Ad Hominems and Racism. We can generally agree that this is not appropriate. However we always feel free to use, liberal vs conservative, straight vs gay, believer vs skeptic, right brain vs left brain or the old standard of labeling, Astrology. Whereby some totally NON scientific means involving birth time assigns a non negotiable set of attributes and flaws to a person for their whole life. Like assigning supposed political mind set or implying that being left or right brained has any scientific merit. [It has been debunked by modern science, thoroughly].
Another category is simple telephone and messaging communication. How many people do NOT read their messages? I wrote a blog about a profound example of this, HERE. First off, it’s bad manners. Apparently this person’s parents skipped that part of the developmental program during supposed parenting. The other part is this. I sent a message to a high end realtor [here is my anecdote!] about a social event. This person didn’t open their message, PERIOD. Now since real estate sales are largely based in communication and currently to a degree in social media, you think they’d be on top of their messages. A message could be, “We need to talk soon,.. [as a lead in]. The rest of the message could be,…”I need to sell my home quickly. Most homes in this neighborhood are going for 6 million, but I’m willing to take 5 million for mine.”. To put it bluntly, if you are in the sales or productivity or marketing game, your messaging, as tedious as it is, needs to be sharp. How about just being a decent person and replying?
Punctuality.[as a form of non verbal communication] This is a sore point for me. My parent, grandparents, sibling and extended family were on time. They managed to dig coal, work in mills and win World Wars. I was taught that it is a judge of character and respect. Dr. Phil once told an audience member who asked, why they were always late. He said, “ARROGANCE”. [Now insert your Strawman and Ad Hominem for Dr. Phil] The reason being is that person assumes they are the center of attention and when they arrive it’s OK to start. Even when they make a mistake and arrive early, they will circle the block, get coffee, go to the ATM, etc so as not to be there on time. Since this time I’ve heard another supportive reason for chronically late people. They overestimate their skill sets. They plan a meeting every hour for eight hours. Then they fail and don’t reflect on the overwhelming evidence of their mouth writing checks their ass can’t cash. I covered how this affects income, HERE.
Answering questions overlaps with messaging. It also relates to dating. The first is, answering a question with a question. It’s a means to delay answering the question until you can manipulate or scrutinize outcomes. Example: “There is a wine tasting, Friday at 7pm in Ft. Lauderdale. Would you like to go?” Answer – “Who is going to be there?” In other words, sharing conversation and communication with the person asking the question holds no value unless the crowd is stacked with favorable characters. The next possible answer, and shitty one, is, “I’ll tell you Thursday.”. Now you can bet your IRA and 401K that they will be getting back to you Thursday, first thing in the morning. [Note sarcasm]. The last answer is the bad one with the mystical word, “TRY”. “I’ll try!!!”. As my friend, Steve Cotter says, “Try means won’t.” It’s the definition of failure. You “TRY” Zumba, Golfing, Pool, Pilates, Boating, etc. That means you dabble. That means you start with the imbedded outcome of knowing you won’t follow through. When you say, “I will try to come”, you are telling them you won’t. You are lying.
The realm of logical fallacy is interesting. It is defined as, “A Flaw In Reasoning”. There are TONS of Logical Fallacies. I’ll present a few with an example.
- Ad Hominem, — Argument against man. Attacking the person with insults. “Joey is lazy, you can’t believe him.”
- Appeal to Authority, — Citing someone’s degree or stature as validation of your point. “I’m a doctor and that is my professional opinion!”
- Avoiding Middle Ground, — Presenting two extremes as the only choices. “You aren’t running now, why don’t you start?”, “What do you want me to do? Run a million miles?”
- Straw Man,– Constructing a separate argument which avoids the first. “I don’t like Cuban food.”,.. “Why do you dislike Cuban people?”
The list goes on and on. There is a thing in political campaigns during interviews called, “A Pivot”. The reporter could ask, “Do you think that gun use should be restricted?” The politician or whomever, can answer, “The real question is, why are there so many jobless people in American?” Basically it’s avoiding answering the question. It can also provide an answer that has NO bearing on the question. Bottom line, poor communication.
Let me delve into the dating world and conversations. Dating at 60 is interesting, but let me convey some thoughts about male/female interaction. Men tend to be predators and chase for food or procreation. So they pursue. A typical conversation could go like this – “If you are free Friday I’d love to take you to that new seafood place down near the water.” Answer: ” What place is that? I’m supposed to go to the casino with my girlfriends that night.” ???????????? That conversation is typical. Here are two ways it could go. One is a yes and one is a no. “Oh! I’ve heard of that place! I’m going to be hanging with my girlfriends Friday, but any other day would be great!”. The NO version is, “That is very thoughtful but I’m not interested. I’m sure you will have a great time though.”. —> That is how it goes. The same is when women are approached by a man who they are NOT attracted to. Other than being married, having a boyfriend is not an, “Excuse”. That basically means if you are ever single again, he’s coming for you. The reason you are turning him down is because you are not interested. Not because you are currently, “with”, someone. Be straight. You don’t say, “I’m dating John Smith, but when I’m done with him I’ll be banging you like a screen door in a hurricane.”
The last area is to use personal anecdote. “It works for me”, is not evidence. It is anecdote. I curious little story that gives us no proof or data to examine and challenge. Nothing wrong with some personal endorsement, but just because it is valid for you has little bearing on whether it applies elsewhere. Realize too, if you install an appeal to authority in there, like lawyer, judge, doctor, dentist, guru, psychic or energy coach.. it seems to have more impact on people. That doesn’t change anything.
This blog piece didn’t even involve self talk which is an amazingly complex area of study. But really, if you can’t speak and act in a form of coherent, clear, communication with others, what hope is there that you will be speaking well to yourself?
“..and this understanding applies to all things.” — IGX