When you try to assert your opinions through making absolute statements and using phrases meant to bully and one-up others, your credibility suffers. Instead of communicating confidence, you communicate ignorance.
- There’s no doubt about this.
- Let’s not be hypocrites and admit that…
- Whoever thinks differently is mistaken.
and other bullying phrases diminish your credibility. They irritate the listener because they insult her or his intelligence and disrespect her right to disagree or think for her or himself.
Absolute statements are declarations such as:
- This is the only way to
- The only truth behind all these excuses is that
- All the reasons people give are not valid because
- If you want to achieve ABC, then you must do XYZ and there’s no other way.
Absolute statements do not show that you are confident. Quite the contrary. You are losing credibility. We know that reality is relative. It doesn’t take a degree in quantum physics to know this. If we honor diversity, democracy, free thinking and common sense, we know that absolute thinking is as far a cry from creative genius as anything can be. It shows ignorance, not intelligence.
When you talk in absolutes, therefore, your statements indicate ignorance, not mastery. Do this, and most people will throw away the valid points of your statement because now they distrust YOU.
Here are four reasons why you should avoid absolute statements and bullying phrases, as well as any one-upmanship in your expression.
- True humility is a mark of intelligence: you don’t have to play small and agree with everyone. That’s what I call Humbug Humility. True humility is the mark of the genius. Ttruly intelligent and free people know that, as Socrates said: “I only know that I know nothing” – for we are always learning, reality is constantly changing and what we know now may soon be proved false.
- Respect for diversity, democracy, human rights and others’ intelligence: Respect shows. It shows through the way you communicate, the way you listen and the way you exchange information. When you communicate that “it’s my way or the highway,” your ego is dismantling the rich exchange. You are promoting separation and violating others’ rights. The consequences will be isolation, rejection, resentment, exclusion and lack of support. Giving offense is not a show of strength or originality. It is plain rude and arrogant.
- Good communication: A good communicator seeks to connect to others by speaking in a way that opens their mind and heart to receive the knowledge and message s/he wants to convey. Absolute statements and bullying phrases do the opposite. They close the audience off and interfere with your message.
- Increased credibility: A wise person does not think in absolutes. A wise person is open to others’ opinions and new facts. A wise person is receptive, respectful, compassionate, empathic and flexible.
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