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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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Politics

Pink Pussy Hats Deliver a Strong, Wrong Message

If the D.C. pink pussy hat wearers had had a unified message, then donning such hats did not help

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Donald Trump received numerous awards from the NAACP and other such groups, years before he ran for president. At one point, he had a black girlfriend for two years. Yet, the nanosecond that he circulated his MAGA hats, standing for “Make America Great Again,” those on the left called him a racist.

Automatically, The Worst Interpretation

Congress representatives such as AOC said that America was never great. Making America great again was attacked by the Left as referring to when white people ruled, and black people were subservient. MAGA suddenly meant ‘make the white majority supreme and keep minorities down.’ Do everything you can to return to the days of Jim Crow, redlining, and prejudice!

Donald Trump had no inkling that anyone would stumble over the phrase, “Make America Great Again.” It was his vision that every citizen who wanted to participate could be part of a glorious future. Leftists would have none of that.

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From inauguration day on January 20, 2017, and then beyond, women on the Left protested the Trump administration and G.O.P. policy by wearing what some have called pink “pussy” hats. Perhaps the protesters who wore these hats, in the shape of female genitalia, thought that somehow they brought appropriate attention to their cause.

Undesirable Attention

Where is the gravitas in wearing a pink pussy hat? Whatever attention it does bring, is not the sort that they necessarily seek. Can you take someone seriously who dons a hat that symbolizes the middle part of the female body?

For moment, suppose that men were marching to generate greater attention on, say, prostate cancer. Would they gain advocates by wearing hats that appeared to be symbolic of male genitalia? Would people regard them in earnest? Would their message have a strong impact? Or would their hats be a distraction?

We know that people at rallies wear hats intended to invoke a particular reaction. If one accepts that symbology has impact, then any fool with any kind of hat only needs to wear it. If the D.C. pink pussy hat wearers thought that they were making an impact, they had only to look to history to see that the hats were both inappropriate and unnecessary.

Many of the most effective messages in our history occurred in Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963 didn’t resort to props as he appealed to the nation. His words were powerful, his logic was simple, and his emotional impact was strong.

Unified and On Target

Other than Madonna dreaming about blowing up the White House, can anyone recall their words? If the D.C. pink pussy hat wearers had had a unified, coherent message, then donning such hats did not help. Their hats spoke louder than their words.

Were any messages of eloquence included in any editions of Vital Speeches or in other speech compilations? Did any speech make it into textbooks? Can anyone recite any selected verses uttered that day? Did anything said get taught in classrooms? Will speech coaches employ the words spoken that day to demonstrate rhetoric skills? Do students in debate clubs reflect on such words?

The answer: ‘no,’ five consecutive times.

Pretend that a speaker is coming to your group to deliver a message. You’re not sure of the content, but you know it will be political. You’re eager to attend. The speaker shows up and as she’s introduced and delivers her message she’s wearing a pink pussy hat. Honestly, can you say that her impact is as great as it would have been without the ridiculous adornment?

Hats Off

The vital difference between MAGA hats and pussy hats is that MAGA hats are baseball caps with lettering which makes a statement. Both men and women wear them. There are no sexual organs or innuendos involved. The same is true for those wearing baseball caps with other messages.

“Let’s Go Brandon,” which is meant to mock Joe Biden, offers a message on the front of the cap. If you remove the lettering, or cover it, you have an everyday baseball cap. The only message that lasts from the protest on January 20, 2017, is that a large gathering of women who sought to make an impact beclowned themselves.

What symbology will they employ for the 2024 election?

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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