On the radio last week, a local politician was being interviewed regarding a controversy where she had apparently said something that was not true. The radio played a recording featuring her saying "a hotel will be built," which turned out to be false. While I was listening, she was interviewed and asked to comment on the situation, to which she said that the public had misunderstood her, and that the hotel was not in fact going to be built.
Whether a hotel is being built or not really doesn't matter in this context - what matters is that she neatly shifted the blame from herself to the public by using the word "misunderstand."
If you say one thing, and then realize that it was incorrect, the best thing to do is to admit that you were mistaken, apologize, and move on. People cannot misunderstand you if you say something outright and it turns out to be wrong. In that case, you misspoke.
However, if you say something ambiguous, and people assume that a hotel will be built because of it, then you can certainly make the claim that the public misunderstood you.
There is a clear difference here, and it is a very important one! By shifting our rhetoric slightly, we can shift reality (who hasn't heard a kid say "it fell out of my hands" rather than "I dropped it"?). Shifting the blame changes our understanding of the situation and thus changes our perception on what really happened.
What do you think of this? How does your perception on the situation change from the point of view of "I misspoke" vs. "you misunderstood"? Share in the comments section below!
I loved university while I was there, but I also felt like there were a few things lacking. Now that I've been in the working world a couple years, I know there were a few things missing. These could also be applied to high school, actually, but since an undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma, I'm going to say that these are the things that ought to be taught at university:
1) Everyday budgeting. Paying off bills and a mortgage, while trying to put money away into RRSPs and TFSAs (what the heck are those, anyway?), and trying to manage all other expenses, can be really tough if it doesn't come naturally to you. Numbers aren't my strong suit, but I have a keen interest in budgeting, so I make lists of all of my expenses and income, and I put money away into savings and all of that. Even so, I have a really tough time understanding how various savings systems work and how I can put money against the principal of my mortgage and that sort of thing. If you have parents who understand this stuff and a nice person at the bank to help you out, listen to their advice and ask questions because it's one of the best things you can do. But you know what would be even better? If there was at least one mandatory course in university which teaches you how to budget and save money. This would be great for the economy and it would be so useful for people in general. Getting into debt and never paying off credit cards has become the norm these days, and it's primarily because people don't know how to manage their money.
2) How to write. I'm so sick and tired of the number of news releases and professional documents I receive with tons of typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It's unacceptable when the document is a professional one. I wish they'd spend more time at university teaching people how to learn the difference between "to, too, and two" and how to use proper sentence structure. It's a shame how many people write poorly. Inconsistency is a big part of that, too - when the font suddenly changes midway through a sentence, or the type of bullet changes from an arrow to a circle halfway down the line, or the spelling changes from the British version to the American version and back again within the same paragraph, it really drives me crazy because it shows that the writer didn't re-read their piece before sending it out as a professional document.
3) Organization 101. We can be much more productive people if we just learn how to prioritize a little better and how to organize our lives. This is a basic life skill that many people lack! It might seem like a tedious subject, but there are a lot of little techniques and tricks that one can employ to make themselves more efficient, and it would be worth learning in the classroom. One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds could be the course textbook!
What do you feel is missing from university? What classes do you think should be mandatory?
The boyfriend pointed out something the other day which really stuck with me. He observed that although the standard line is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, of late the slogan seems to have evolved and dropped the first two parts.
These days, you hear a lot about recycling. Manufacturers are coming out with new items which are "environmentally friendly." Instead of reducing and reusing, we are taught to consume! more! stuff! and focus more on the recycling aspect. Apparently it's okay for us to consume a lot of products, as long as we recycle it.
Does anyone ever talk about reducing and reusing anymore? When did they fall out of our daily rhetoric? It's concerning that there's been this slow change which seems to have phased out the reducing and reusing parts of recycling. Words are powerful: if we remove the words from the slogan, we begin to forget about them, and we concentrate only on what's left: recycling. Which would be fine, if it weren't for the fact that as a society we are in desperate need of reducing and reusing as well as recycling.
Are the reduce and reuse parts simply implied these days, and that's why they've dropped off of the slogan? Or is it because we as a society have realized that we aren't willing to give up our habit of consuming, so we decided to focus more on recycling rather than reducing and reusing?
Why is it that we never use the phrase "I believe/don't believe in Western medicine/pharmaceuticals," yet it's the norm to talk about "believing" or "not believing" in holistic medicine/acupuncture/herbal remedies/Chinese medicine?
Both are science. It seems odd that we as a society find it so difficult to reconcile that within ourselves.
Something that I like to do, when I feel my motivation to eat healthy and lose weight waning, is to skip on over to YouTube and look up videos created by raw foodists. For some reason, raw foodists are one of the most cheerful, motivational, inspiring groups of people out there. I always feel better (and rejuvenated to continue on with my weight loss goals) after watching a few videos of raw foodists speaking energetically and animatedly about how to keep yourself on track and how great life is.
There's no doubt about it: as a general rule, raw foodists have high amounts of energy and are often very happy with their lot in life.
The question is, do people with a specific personality and set of characteristics (such as over-exuberance and excitement for life) gravitate towards raw food diets, or is it the food itself that leads to these changes in a person, or is it the corresponding lifestyle of most raw foodists (such as meditation, yoga, and a strong support group) that often accompanies the diet? In essence... which comes first?
We can ask this of any group of peoples. And it's highly unlikely that we'll ever get to the bottom of it. Perhaps it is a combination of all three options, or something else entirely. It's something to think about, anyways!
I feel sorry for the word "literally". It is overused and misused to a horrifying extent in our society, to the point that I've started cringing every time I hear someone use the word.
As seen in the Canadian Oxford English Dictionary, literal means to take words in their usual or primary sense without metaphor or allegory. To use it is to be without metaphor, exaggeration, or inaccuracy.
The way I see it, there are two rules when it comes to the word "literally":
1) You cannot use it unless you mean it in actuality or unless it is factual. For example, you cannot say "I'm literally sitting on that fence" when discussing a metaphoric issue. That's the point of the word "literal". It's literal, not metaphoric. Unless you physically are sitting on a fence, do not use the word "literally".
2) You need to use it in context. This word is often thrown around haphazardly without appropriate context, and it is often unnecessarily overused. Although the phrase "That store is literally right across the street" is technically correct, it's also a little redundant (literally and right essentially mean the same thing in this context) and it also isn't necessary in the sentence to convey specific meaning.
The word "literally" is sadly misused and maltreated. Please treat words with the care that they deserve.
I have written before about how, as a child, I never knew what the real words to the Lord's Prayer were. I just mumbled it along with everyone else and strung sounds together without knowing what the words were. It was years later that I discovered that the word "howl" does not enter into the Lord's Prayer at any point (but the word "hallowed" certainly does).
The mother dear recently went on a trip and was able to spend some time with the father dear (he's living in Cambodia, so we don't get to see him too often). When she returned, she brought back a beautiful cameo (my favourite jewelry besides pearls!) that she and the father dear had picked out for me. I e-mailed the father dear to say thank you and when he responded with an e-mail that said, "You're welcome", it occurred to me that even that phrase is often mumbled (which it can't be via e-mail, of course. The father dear knows how to enunciate his words!).
We really need to learn how to emphasize our words. Most people pronounce the phrase "your welcome" rather than "you're", which is very interesting because it completely changes the meaning of the phrase. "Your" implies that the person is welcoming themselves. "You're" implies that the person being thanked was happy to be of service.
Besides the fact that it's kind of sad that we often don't express our happiness at having done something for another person (because if we did express ourselves appropriately, I'm sure that we would be able to enunciate our words better as we respond beamingly to a person's heartfelt "thank you"), it is also unfortunate that we don't tend to enunciate to assure the other person that we are saying "you're welcome" instead of "your". Does that negatively affect our outlook on life because it suggests that we aren't as giving? It's hard to say. But it is something to think about the next time someone says thank you: let them know that you really wanted to do it by enunciating the "you're" in "you're welcome".
Speaking of all of this, until recently when I was conducting a spell check, I had mistakenly thought that the word "enunciate" was spelled with an "a". Even the word "enunciate" is rarely enunciated correctly! Despairing indeed.
"Words are the source of misunderstandings."
The Little Prince, page 65.