THINKING, SPEAKING, ACTING
A single detail about my words makes the difference in my life
‘I’ll call you next week and we’ll arrange something’, Brazilians say.
Yeah, right. But ‘next week’ comes, and goes, and they don’t call you, correct?
I recall my first years as a businessperson, how hard it was for me to accurately interpret this piece of communication as I had the strong tendency to believe that, yes, the following week the person was going to call me and we would indeed arrange to meet.
Never mind, so is the business world, some would say. After all, in this world a lot is said which is not done.
And so we Brazilians carry on saying we will do things which we don’t. It is a common thing in our society. Does it happen only between clients and suppliers?
No, it does not. The next stop on our Empty Words Tour is the communication among friends.
‘Come by sometime.’
‘Give me a call so we can arrange to meet.’
‘By next week things will have calmed down a bit so I’ll…’
Yeah, right. But in a few months’ time we’ll see each other again and none of those promises – inconsequential promises, I know – will have been fulfilled. We and our fellow Brazilians won’t have come by. We won’t have called our friends. And things did calm down but we…
All good, we will all say. This is the way it is. In Brazil, among friends – or acquaintances – arranging to do something and not doing it is a usual thing. Anyway, one is always so busy.
Then we can say that among clients and suppliers, and among friends and acquaintances, to say one will do something and then failing to do it is a usual thing. And this is where it all ends, right?
Can we rely on the truthfulness of speeches, public promises, federal decrees in Brazil?
(the empty lines signal my silence. For us Brazilians this silence is an evident ‘no’)
I will not drag it out. Something, however, is worthy of notice: ‘common’ and ‘communication’ are words that share the same root. Following this observation, to ‘communicate’ is to make something common. Therefore, what is made common is that which I choose to communicate. It is a dynamic thing: Either I choose my words and habits or my words and habits make choices on my behalf. The second case happens because I am repeating things without thinking about what I say – and without connecting myself with my words. And in doing so I fail to connect what I say with what I do, too.
The detail in my words – and in yours and ours – which makes all the difference in our lives is to connect them with what we do – words and actions going together.
And it makes all the difference in the world. When we hear that communication is power, it is because we create our reality through our communication and communication habits. When we Brazilians say we will do something and fail to do it, the reality we create is an empty one and the words we utter are emptied of their value.
What are you doing next week? J
THINKING, SPEAKING, ACTING – – – GOAL