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Level up, don't dumb down!

Dumbing Us Down

I've often been told by several well-meaning people that I should change the way I speak. The general view seems to be that we ought to speak in a manner that people would understand. Very often, this implies a "dumbing down" of our speech, to "bring ourselves down to their level".
What do you think? To me, the idea is absolutely preposterous! First, it insults those I'm speaking to by implying that their language skills are somehow not up to par. Now, I am not saying that we should indulge in verbosity and pomposity. What I am saying is that words came into existence because of different functions and needs. Why are there words like "rude', "impolite", "fresh", "impudent", "impertinent", "disrespectful", all seeming to mean "more or less the same thing"? No, they do not mean "more or less the same thing", there are differences in the implications. There are differences in the way they are used in certain contexts. For instance, "rude" has the connotation of someone who has not been taught, and may therefore seem unrefined in certain social situations. "Impolite" implies that the person HAS been taught what good manners are, but is failing to apply what he has been taught for whatever reason. "Impudent" conveys the idea of "pulling someone who ought to be respected down to your rude level", whereas "impertinent" implies behaviour that is not appropriate to the occasion. "Prone" and "supine" do not mean the same thing. Proper understanding and usage of words is extremely important. I'm not an English teacher, but I do appreciate the value of delivering our message properly in ways that are clear, concise and unambiguous. Here's another one: "ingenious" has often been confused with "ingenuous". Now, if any of the words I listed are unfamiliar to you, look them up! Most of you have iPhones, Android-based devices and similar electronic wizardry, ja? Increase your vocabulary as much as you can, whether in English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil, Hindi, whatever, but increase your vocabulary continuously. Practise speaking the new words until they aren't new any more. Use them in sentences and in your conversations with your co-workers and associates. Get them to learn the new words, too! Try it out this week!
Another aspect of "dumbing us down" is the prevalence of "silo thinking". Everybody is talking about abolishing "silo thinking" in their organizations. I wonder how many actually achieve it. Develop your intellect at every opportunity. If you happen to be listening to a presentation on electrostatic shielding and have not the foggiest idea about what is being presented, make it your life purpose to at least find out what electrostatic shielding is about, and how it is applied in the real world. You don't have to take an engineering course on it, but get to know enough about it so that you can carry on an intelligent conversation, or at least be able to ask pertinent questions, not "impertinent" ones. (There's that word again!) People who are good in their fields would be able to explain to you in simple terms what it is they really do. I would like to meet such people, how about you?
If you have the time, go get a copy of the book I put up there and read it through. You might find some startling facts that might cause you to change your level of existence and consciousness. Upwards, that is. Here's wishing you a great week ahead! 

It makes Scents to Rock! Beauty & the BIZ meeting 1 Jun 2012 
Laves Goh will be sharing about how to be Scentsational at the next BB meeting on 1 Jun 2012! Get more details here!
Scentsational 1 Jun 2012 
Interview on NTV7.

I'll be in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday 24 May 2012 for an interview by NTV7. We'll be talking about how to parent kids with different behavioural styles. The interview is supposed to be broadcast from 0900 - 1000 hrs on Thursday. Tune in if you can!

Elijah Lim
Principal Consultant
Shining Arrow Consulting Pte Ltd

Semper Audaces

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