You walk through this world only once
Words are inert. Inert things are useless until a kinetic force causes them to function. People are kinetic forces that give words and speech action, and purpose. Speech, in general, was an huge evolutionary step in mankind’s ability to convey thought, and built the society we live in, but, where do we stand today with communication and how we verbally deal with ourselves and each other?
The majority of problems I encounter involve the difference between passive and direct speech. Passive speech, is a political sentiment, when politicians do not know the answer to a question they default back to generalized statements, speaking about common interests like trust, faith, and broad qualifying adjectives like “good” and “bad”. Passive speech is completely useless, in fact, it is toxic to knowledge. Instead of answering a question, it confuses the issue, and anyone looking for new information or a greater understanding of a topic are lost behind unrelated, non-contributing factors, that may be true in themselves, but are irrelevant to the posed conversation.
Passive discussion is particularly inhibiting when discussing creative, or intangible ideas. Take the following: We are mid edit with a deadline in 3 days. An editor asks his director, “what do you think about idea ______?” At this point the question dictates a yes or no response to affirm or deny the editor’s supposition leading the editor to have a greater understanding of what the director wants from the work and thus take the next creative step towards a finished piece. The director responds, “I mean as long as the videos are good I’m ok with it.” This sentence is drenched with passive words that do not indicate or address the question answered. Now the editor is unsure if the director means, “yes, I like that idea go with that,” or “no, your idea sucks.” Had the director responded with either yes or no sentiments, at least the question posed would not linger and everyone could have moved on to a new discussion.
When asked about an opinion, where specificity is important both for the sake of the work being done as well as the quality of the work produced is at stake, a passive responsive is the worst response you can offer. You might as well say, “I don’t know,” or saying nothing at all, then smile and slowly back out of the room so people who do the work can get it done.
Passive speech is the idle hand of the common bureaucrat who offers nothing to progress but still wants to cash in on the glory of achievement. It is to be avoided at all costs in both an interpersonal setting and more importantly a business setting. Business is built upon communication as corporations are not an individual, but the representation of a million people working in tandem to produce goods, services, or entertainment.
Modern society is PLAGUED with Passive speech. Whether you are picking up a girl at the bar, discussing movies with friends, or trying to find a job, the default safety is for people to remain as illusive and universal as possible. This is a result of general insecurity, the lack of confidence both what you are saying and how it will be received, because, for whatever reason, we care a lot about how complete strangers think of us. Fear and timidity often result in mindless rambling about things “liked” as if we were walking around in Facebook world, all so that our opinions and preconceived notions of how social interactions play out and the world appears remains intact.
New information often scares and frustrates.
The cure for the epidemic is direct, honest speaking. Direct communication is a way we can make claims, postulate, and create. Direct speech allows us to execute precise orders derived from precise thought, eliminate variables and minimize catastrophe.
Direct speech is simple speech. Brevity, they say, is the soul of wit, and wit is the cure for stupidity, anger, and is a great way to problem solve.
The inability to speak directly to someone is no different then waking up and driving your car around in large circles, wonder why you didn’t shower, where you’re going, or if you’re going to run out of gas in the ghetto.
To put simply, Direct speech= Freedom, Boldness, Proactivity, Passive Speech= Fear, Angst, and Uncertainty. (read 7 habits of highly effective people)
If we are truly a progressive species then we must make everyday a struggle to conquer the fears and anxiety that drive Passivity.
You walk through this world only once, you can stop and make a direct impact, experience the wonders before you and leave something behind for the next guy, or you can close your eyes and walk blindly to your grave.