Life coaching: Do not read this column

This column will read like a scattered, senseless, rambling piece of unrelated words unless you are one of us. It will confuse you so don't bother reading it. If you have ADD/ADHD, this article will make perfect sense to you.

ben goldfarb 88 (photo credit: )
ben goldfarb 88
(photo credit: )
You are not allowed to read this column unless you have ADD/ADHD. This column will read like a scattered, senseless, rambling piece of unrelated words unless you are one of us. It will confuse you so don't bother reading it. If you have ADD/ADHD, this article will make perfect sense to you. NOTE: If you read this without a letter from your doctor confirming your ADD/ADHD diagnosis or a notarized copy of your Ritalin prescription, we will hunt you down and force you to listen to hours of our mindless, multiple-streams of consciousness. We are not joking. We have ways of monitoring your online habits and enforcing this restriction. I want to talk about communication in general, and words in particular. Words are one of the least effective means of communication we have, but we are stuck with them, aren't we? Before I speak to myself or to others, (yes, I speak to myself and I'm proud of it), I ask myself the following question: Do my clothes match? Actually, my wife asks me that question before she lets me out of the house in the morning. In partial seriousness, I challenge myself to find the deeper meaning of words. Words are misleading at best, dangerous at worst. We've all heard the expression "A picture is worth a thousand words." Richard Bandler, the eccentric co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is fond of saying a "word is worth a thousand pictures." You don't have to take Bandler seriously if you don't want to. He doesn't even take himself seriously. He's been known to entertain guests who were expecting to go out for Sushi to a bait shop. While the typical San Francisco bait shop lacks the ambiance of most sushi bars, the prices are more reasonable and the menu is basically the same as Japanese fare. In any event, words often create more confusion than clarity because they trigger different pictures in each listener's head. In linguistics, they call this surface and deep structure. This is a fancy version of Mad magazine's, "What they say and what they really mean." We will divide up communication into a few categories: advertising, the work world, and interpersonal communication. We will then give a few examples of what we mean by deep and surface structure. Advertising What they say: Buy our fun size candy bars. What they really mean: I don't know about you, but fun size doesn't mean the size of a postage stamp. Fun size is a chocolate treat the size of a dump truck. But if you buy enough of these miniscule poison pellets, you'll end up spending more money than if you purchased the normal size bars. What they say: Try our new and improved home heating units. What they really mean: Our new units won't asphyxiate you like our old ones did. In the work world What the boss says: You are a lazy, incompetent bum. Please take your pink slip which is proudly displayed on the bulletin board in the employee cafeteria. Two security guards will accompany you out of the premises. Now. What she really means: You are an invaluable asset to our company. Don't expect to take over my job so quickly, but I would like to give you a raise and a company car and promote you as my personal assistant. What you say to yourself at work: I love my job. I'm so thankful to have work and steady paycheck. I'm so lucky. What you really mean: The money is nice…but get me out of the sweatshop before I go insane. Interpersonal communications What your wife says: You are such a typical guy. Look at that mess you are leaving for me to clean up. You are so insensitive. What she really means: You are the greatest man in the world. Our marriage is like a fine wine that improves with age. If I were any happier living with you, I'd have to be medicated. What you say to your wife: I'm not going to give you any solutions now. I'm just going to listen to what you are saying and let you know that I understand what you are going through. What you really mean: You have three more seconds to express your feelings and then I'm going to give you a solution whether you like it or not. Take a few minutes to understand the deeper meaning of the words you hear and say. Enjoy your new interpretations of what words really mean. Don't be fooled by surface structure and comments people might make about the way you dress. There is a deep message being communicated by wearing horizontal and vertical stripes that mere words cannot convey. Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He is the founder and director of Paradigm Shift Communications. He has given seminars and training sessions at Israel Aircraft Industry and Philips Medical Systems. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published in the summer. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to [email protected] © Copyright 2008 by Ben Goldfarb