Have you ever read or heard the kind of dismissal responses from a prospective employer or client, typically “…unfortunately we have decided to go with another company.” or “…unfortunately we have decided to offer the position to another candidate.” Have you ever been the one on the receiving end? Or the person making that statement so automatically because it’s a professional-sounding, business formatted response?
When I read or hear that I can’t help but go “wait…what??” So, why is that unfortunate and to whom? If you are the company or person who has decided to go with a certain thing then what is the unfortunate part about? “Unfortunately, we have decided to go with…” I mean isn’t it a good instance when you have made a decision? Is it unfortunate that you chose that thing, unfortunate for the one that was chosen or unfortunate for the one who wasn’t? After all the sentiment doesn’t really apply to the entire scenario, only to one party – if at all. It is a definite fallacy on the part of the one who has made the choice, because obviously they are certain that they have made a good choice, or they wouldn’t have, right? And why rub salt into the wound of the rejected? Perhaps they really did them a favor. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right fit. And shouldn’t we all be committed to the right fit? Like I said – a fallacy.
So why do we choose the words that don’t truthfully or accurately indicate the sentiment of the situation? I really do take issue with the misuse of automatic language – unthinking, without linking to the actual feeling, meaning or maybe even consequences – to stretch it even further. When clichés are used without even noticing their inherent meaning, they become worthless. Even though clichés do have hypnotic effects and suggestiveness on us, when it becomes too common as in we’ve heard them too often, we may go into brain-lock momentarily and their intended aim will fail in its efficacy.
While words may only affect us according to the value we give them ourselves, they nevertheless have lasting impact on all of us. Mindful use of language is powerful, just as words are creative, as in the artful juxtaposition of the sentences we craft in our daily dialogues with others and to ourselves. One of the rules I have always emphasized is on the quantum level, the creative power of the words I AM. How many of us are mindful and pay attention to the words that follow? Even the famous biblical words in Genesis that we are all familiar with – I AM that I AM – indicates that we are whatever follows I AM. Yes, words are that powerful… but wait… only with utmost belief in their intrinsic value, often on an other-than-conscious level, and often on deep value levels. Sometimes the value lies in who is uttering them or who they mean to us.
The old saying, think before you speak is sage advice. In my youth I used to pride myself on a business course I had taken with one of the classes being English for Commerce. Really what we learnt was how to craft professional form business correspondence. These language skills were versatile enough to be applied to a variety of situations. The prerequisite was an already good command of the language. Looking back, I apply to this day, much of what I learnt in that class and I also realize that unless you are mindful and knowledgeable enough to custom craft a correspondence or a good conversation, like anything else will fall prey to becoming a trite, meaningless regurgitation of words.
So, if you haven’t been already, start to listen to yourself – to the words formulating inside your head and then to what’s coming out. There’s always opportunity to become better, to craft and speak words with meaning, significance and depth and really affect others in a profound way.