I am reading Lee Iacoca’s book these days and from my attitude recently one might be tempted to conclude that I am more inspired by autocratic Henry Ford than Iacoca 🙂
But anyway, there are other things too.
This one is about communication. As was rightly pointed out by someone in some other context that I very often use phrases like “I do not mean that…”, “I do not want to say that…” etc. Even I had to think for a while as to why I do this. But good that I was made to think because it did reveal a clear purpose, which I was not conscious of, but which gets served by this habit very well – sometimes over-served I am afraid.
Human mind has this tendency to stereotype quickly. The psychology of Impression Management would support that. In order to simplify what could otherwise be an excessively time consuming process of evaluating all the attributes, when we see a stimulus we try to categorize it in one of the pre-defined (may not have strict boundaries and can be vague) categories. While it helps with efficiencies and our mind will really break down if we tried to start forming opinions and impressions from scratch all the time, sometimes it can cause havoc in communication. Stereotypes are usually extreme and rigid and you say one thing and so many things are assumed besides that. You say you do not like authority and it is assumed that you are an anti-establishment kind of person. You talk a bit about “two classes” and you are labeled as a communist. You talk something about the history of Ram temple and you would be labeled as an “RSS guy”. Therefore, while it becomes important to say what you want to, it is equally important to make sure that you do not convey something you do not want to.
I am sure great communicators would have more subtle or sophisticated ways of achieving it than overdoing “I do not mean that…”. But till I learn one of those ways, I have no other resort. And more often than not, it works pretty well 🙂