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Communication Skills: Clear Thinking

Communication Skills: Clear Thinking

How could you improve your ability to think clearly?

One of the best ways to improve the clarity of your thinking is to get into the habit of differentiating between pairs of similar but opposing concepts.

For instance, what is the difference between the following pairs of words?

  1. "A wish" and "a goal"?
  2. "A Reason" and "an excuse", for not doing something.
  3. "A fact" and "an opinion"?
  4. "An incorrect statement" and "a lie?"
  5. "A leader" and "a manager".
  6. "A criticism" and "an insult".
  7. Between being "Stubborn" and being "determined".
  8. "Being successful" and "being rich"

Here is my attempt at making the distinctions.

1. "A wish" and "a goal"?

A wish is an idle fantasy or a desire.

A goal is a definite statement of intent.

It is better to spend time attempting to achieve worthwhile goals; rather than spend your time just wishing that things will change.

2. "A Reason" and "an excuse", for not doing something

A reason is a logical explanation as to why something cannot or should not be done.

An excuse is an emotional explanation as to why it should not be done.

Distinguish between reasons and excuses and have a different policy for each.

3. "A fact" and "an opinion"?

A fact is a statement that can be verified by direct sense - perception or logic. Example: there are three people in this room.

An opinion is a statement that cannot be verified by direct perception or logic. Example: There are three super, good-looking people in this room.

It is important not to mistake your opinions for facts.

4. "An incorrect statement", and "a lie?"

An incorrect statement is one that does not correspond to the facts.

A lie is a statement that is intended to deceive.

It is important to remember that people who tell you things that are not true, are not necessarily lying.

5. "A leader" and "a manager"

A leader is a member of a team who is primarily responsible for setting and communicating a goal and inspiring others to act to achieve it.

A manager is a member of a team who is primarily responsible for organising people and resources in a manner that will most effectively achieve a goal.

Some people can be good managers but lack leadership skills, and vice versa.

Strive to be both a great leader and a great manager.

6. "A criticism" and "an insult"

A criticism is a statement that indicates negative feedback on an action or an omission.

An insult is a derogatory statement about the character of another.

In business, we have to become good at both giving and taking criticism, not insults.

7. Between being "stubborn" and being "determined"

Stubbornness is a negative character trait based on the unwillingness to make changes in spite of the fact that the action is not working.

Determination is a positive character trait based on total commitment to a goal.

Don't mistake the negative attribute of plain stubbornness for the positive quality of determination.

Be determined. Not stubborn.

8. "Being successful" and "being rich"

Being rich is the ability to gain financial wealth. (Which can be done in many ways, some of which violate the rights of others.)

Being successful is the ability to achieve all your goals, in the minimum time and effort, without violating the rights of anyone else.

Be a successful person. Achieve your goals with the minimum expenditure of time money and effort, without violating the rights of others.

Develop a clear mind

There are thousands of pairs of concepts that are similar, but different.

The clear mind is one that is able to discern the difference between similar-but-different things.

Discern the difference between:

  • A cat and a tiger.
  • A good person and an attractive person.
  • Being lucky and being well prepared.

I'll leave you to figure out some more good pairs of similar, but different concepts, and to go on and distinguish between the two.

The more you do, the better you get!

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