Archive for December, 2012

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Since communication is the basis of our interaction with others as well as ourselves, it becomes exceptionally important in the process of achieving our goals.Communication

External communication, with family, friends, co-workers, strangers or even our pets, involves two levels of activity – understanding them, and making them understand us. Results from a communication process depend equally on both the activities, and can become tricky even if one of them is not performed well.

Internal communication, namely a dialogue with ourselves, may be a part of an external communication or independent of it, but still involves achieving the right understanding of the messages that are received or conveyed.

As George Bernard Shaw said, we usually assume that communication has taken place but that may be an illusion if ‘understanding’ is missing from that process.

And we know lack of understanding can have potentially harmful repercussions in the short term and eventually impact on our personal and professional relationships in the long term. We see evidence of this everywhere around us – between individuals, cultures, societies and countries.

With regard to internal communication, this lack can lead to a dysfunctional relationship with ourselves, ultimately affecting our external communication.

So what can be done to achieve the desired level of understanding in our communication?

The first and foremost step we can possibly take is to seek and provide the required level of information in every interaction, without relying on assumptions.

Assumptions are nothing but our mind reading of any external communication that doesn’t offer us full information.

For example, if I’m seeking advice from a friend on a topic they are not fully conversant with, I should expect half-baked information and try not to base my decisions only on a set of assumptions. Otherwise, it may lead to undesired results and friction in that relationship.

Once a total understanding of an external piece of communication is achieved, it makes it easier for our brain to process that information and determine an appropriate approach to it, leading to better outcomes.

Next time, we will discuss another important ingredient that contributes to making our communication robust.


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If you ever noticed, we humans are groomed and conditioned to be ‘winners’ and to avoid ‘failures’ right from the moment we start to notice the world around us after birth.success-and-failure-sign

As a child, we are chided by our parents for ‘failing’ to follow their instructions, or ‘failing’ to do well at school or even ‘failing’ to get along with our siblings.

The event of ‘failure’, in any way, is looked down upon at every step in the society we live in and by the world which presumably judges us for our actions.

The fear of failing starts to get so entrenched and well-positioned in our brain, as we grow up, it consequently prevents us from ‘trying’. We become so consumed by this fear that we dread taking initiatives, just in case we might fail to come up to others’ expectations – in professional or personal relationships.

Now, if fortunately by the time we start to understand the gravity of the stranglehold of this fear, we realise we are half way through our journey and ‘failed’ to make a start on our life.

And then begins the blame-game!

It’s important to understand the feeling or fear of ‘failure’ is just another state of mind, and that ‘failure’ is a relative term, generally defined by certain parameters of our society, which again are only relative and not absolute.

Examples from our history, and even the present, suggest and confirm that success and happiness are reaped by people who have conquered the fear of failure.

Milton Erickson, the world renowned psychiatrist and clinical hypnotherapist, was both dyslexic and colour blind, and severely paralysed at the age of 17 due to polio when the doctors gave him just one night to live.

He was not ready to be defeated by any of those challenges and lived up to be 79, even while helping to transform people’s lives using the powers of unconscious mind. He is also noted for his contributions to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

NLP considers every event in life, including the so-called ‘failures’, as ‘feedback’ – information we can learn from.

A belief in ‘failure’, according to NLP, constricts lack of choices and leads to getting stuck. On the other hand, a belief in ‘feedback’ leads to opening up of new choices and learnings to achieve the desired results. It can work like magic!

So, give this magical method a go the next time you feel you have ‘failed’ in a goal – collate lessons from that event, ponder the feedback and utilise the new perspective to achieve what you desire.



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