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To Be More Persuasive, Drop Useless Catch Phrases

There are a plethora of common expressions and catch phrases that we could do withou.

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“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” is the title of a Kelly Clarkson song. I cringe every time it comes on the radio, not because the song is so bad, but because the expression has questionable value. Not only is it incorrect, it actually represents misinformation. I’m aghast when authors or speakers use the phrase.

As one firmly ensconced in senior citizenry, I have years of experiences and observations. As such, I feel eminently qualified(!) to call out a plethora of common expressions and catch phrases that we could do without. Why? Upon examination they do not pass muster.

Catchphrases and Expressions  That Add Nothing

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Worldwide, multi-millions of people are beset with crippling illnesses that have shattered their lives, reduced their economic livelihood, diminished their participation in society, and in some cases left them utterly helpless. The maladies they contracted, or the accidents that befell them, did not kill them, but for legions of people, their encounter did not make them stronger.

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If you want to argue semantics and claim that their mental constitution became stronger, or their soul became stronger, we’ll leave that to the philosophers. A stroke doesn’t kill everyone who is afflicted, but those with severe strokes and considerable brain damage in no way are left stronger. Some are helpless for the rest of their lives. Many cannot speak, eat on their own, or handle the simplest of tasks requiring motor skills. How, exactly, does their plight make them stronger?

No More Than You Can Handle?

God won’t give you more than you can handle. This phrase appears in the Bible, but, in its popular use, has a life of its own independent of the biblical reference.

Did God give concentration camp victims no more than they could handle? What about the ones who didn’t survive? Would most adult children of alcoholics, who suffer from severe alcoholism themselves, agree that God won’t give you more than you can handle?

What about a young girl who is raped at age 11, is shattered emotionally, and as she ages finds herself unable to have effective adult relations with men? What about someone whose entire family has perished, whose life savings vanish in an instant, or who suffers from anxiety and depression so severely as to be dysfunctional? Oh, there are pills for that?

Everything happens for a reason. Yes, and the moon orbits Earth. Of course everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean the outcome is beneficial or that the outcome contains lessons worth learning. Cause and effect… great, science works. Is it supposed to be comforting to tell someone who’s suffered a catastrophic loss that everything happens for a reason?

Are we to infer that God is behind each incident, of all eight billion people on earth and, by implication, behind all other incidents impacting intelligent life within our galaxy and the 100+ billion other known galaxies? So, we should be okay with whatever happens?

Poetic Justice as the Norm?

What goes around comes around. Maybe, maybe not. At one time or another we’ve likely all experienced events that partially confirm the validity of the statement, what goes around comes around, but to offer it as an all-purpose maxim? Please.

Tens of thousands of scoundrels and despicable people have plundered the fortunes and stolen the joy, or lives, of others in the course of history. Many such rogues never suffer consequences for their actions, and die in bliss. The global slave trade currently totals in the millions. As an operating principle in the world what goes around comes around is pure folly.

Good things come to those who wait. Waiting, especially in a day and age when everyone is grappling for, say, market leadership, might not be such a good strategy. In personal affairs, perhaps there is some justification for waiting, but in general, as Goethe said, “There is genius in boldness.”

Better late than never. Possibly. If you miss the bus at 1:05, you’ve missed that bus forever. The next bus might come at 1:25, which might be okay if you’re not in a hurry. If you’re late for a job interview, a first date, or any event where punctuality counts, better late than never might prove to be of exceedingly little consolation.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Mini-Movie Reviews, 6

Two out of three ain’t bad

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Here are three movies, each having received at least one Oscar nomination:

All Quiet on the Western Front — here is a remake of the 1930s classic, and I was prepared to have this be the same old trench warfare, with all the accompanying platitudes. Instead, I was surprised. This was well done, with decent acting, and a few hand-to-hand combat sequences unlike anything I have previously seen, some truly touching. It is a German production, but all in English. Although it’s on the long side, I think it is worthwhile.

Everything Everywhere All at Once — starring Michelle Yeoh, and receiving 11 Oscar nominations is alternatively amusing, excessively noisy, clever, confusing, and lacking boundaries. It is without a raison d’être, as with other movies during this awards season, notably The Banshees of Isherin and Tár. Everything Everywhere is getting rave reviews, but I say “skip it.” As one reviewer put it, the plot seems to suggest “that what makes life meaningful is the recognition that because there is no inherent meaning, all things and moments are equally meaningful.” Oh, sure thing….

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Aftersun — a subtle but touching recollection of a 30-year old woman, when she was on a long vacation with her divorced father, 20 years earlier, before the new school year starts. Not much happens, yet we are drawn to this twosome, and the screenplay and the director skillfully lead us to an articulated but implied conclusion. Newcomer Paul Mescal, as the father, received an Oscar nomination and (Miss) Frankie Corio, as the 10-year old daughter, is equally good. Aftersun is not for the masses, but I found it to be worthwhile.

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Faith

The Left Is Fueling a New Racism

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It’s my firm belief that the number of Americans holding racist views is small, whether white, black, or Hispanic. At this point in our history, the vast majority of Americans try to live up to the challenge delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We keep moving toward the hard-fought dream he envisioned of an America where a citizen’s character would mean more than the color of their skin.

We are a different country today. I’ve presented leadership programs to hundreds of companies over the last 40 years. I’ve seen the work they’ve done to embrace diversity and advance capable employees and leaders from all races. Many minority members have advanced and earned their rightful place in making this great American economy work. At a time we should be celebrating and furthering our progress, our American culture is under attack from the left. Angry race-baiters are doing everything they can to increase our racial divide through pushing the 1619 Project, CRT, and BLM. They make extreme racist claims with a clear goal—to expand the government gravy train that only racial “victims” can justify.

I lived in pre-civil rights Atlanta where there were separate schools, separate bathrooms, and the baseball team was the Atlanta Crackers! Today, it’s more likely that leftist blacks are the ones who want separate schools, separate rights, and special reparations for their race.

As one anonymous post asserted, “Only in America can an ethnic group of black awareness month, black holiday, black only colleges, black only dating sites, and black only bars and clubs…and turn around and call everyone else racists!” You don’t have to look far to find evidence of extreme black racist demands.

In California, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee released a report calling on the city to pay every qualifying black California resident $5 million and absolve them of their outstanding personal debt. This is madness. California was a free state and did not condone slavery, but the committee is doing all it can to justify reparations: “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.” To the left, this “failure” warrants millions of innocent California citizens being forced to pay higher taxes to fund exorbitant benefits to one race they haven’t abused in any way.

In Washington, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is proposing a law that could codify black racism in America. There is a common mantra in her political speeches: White America is defined by institutional racism, systemic racism, white supremacy, and white nationalism. She attacks “white” America and seems to see the clan in the face of every white citizen. Such general attacks are evidence of a new racism—black racism.

Read for yourself Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s proposed law, the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023. The legislation promises to criminalize criticism of any minority that is subsequently used to incite anybody else to commit a hate crime. The law reads: “A conspiracy to engage in white supremacy inspired hate crimes shall be determined to exist between two or more persons, at least one of whom published material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group could, as determined by a reasonable person, motivate actions by a person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired crime.”

This is a chilling attack on freedom of speech against one race—caucasians. In short, if you criticize a minority and another person states that your statement was all the motivation needed to do a hate crime, you may be jailed because your criticism “motivated” a hate crime you did not commit. Get the message—be silent and conform or we will put you away.

Black racism is real and just as evil as white racism. Both must be soundly rejected by responsible citizens. As a Christian, I affirm my Savior’s claim that all God’s children matter! No responsible citizen should be shamed into silence by the irresponsible racist attacks of the left. Be proud of yourself and of America. Whether black, brown or white, success as a small business person or advancement as a good employee had to be earned by hard work, long hours, and diligent sacrifice. As with Americans for generations, it was not handed to you. You didn’t depend on government handouts to get ahead, you had to find a way to earn your own American Dream.

Reparations will never happen! Politicians can’t even afford to fund the entitlements they’ve already promised. Special black racist demands are unethical, divisive, and risk fueling a new racism backlash. Politicians from the left keep making the promises to fuel racist anger and secure special interest donations and votes.

Don’t fall for their racist rants and demands. Depending on government entitlements is never the answer. Instead, get busy following the models and learning from citizens of all races who have made America work for themselves and their families.

Let’s reclaim the American Dream Martin Luther King, Jr. affirmed. Do not judge a fellow citizen by the color of their skin. Celebrate the character of the vast majority of good American citizens you meet. Keep rejecting racism of any kind. It’s time to stand proud and applaud hard work and success wherever we find it, no matter what the race. May it always be so in this great republic we treasure…America!

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