4 “Black Flag” Phrases

You know you’ve heard these phrases before… Perhaps you’ve likely said them yourself…

I call them “black flag” phrases (even worse than a “red flag”), and you should be very afraid of them… These statements are communication suicide for practitioners, though they usually don’t realize it at the time. These statements reveal much about the person saying them, and it ‘ain’t good. These phrases are screaming: “I’m scared; I’ve been hurt; I don’t want to let you in; I’m keeping my defenses sky high to avoid future pain from you, or anyone else.” While this is common stuff most of us have felt at one point or another, it doesn’t change the fact that saying any of the following is stifiling your credibility as an effective communicator:

  1. “I don’t like people, and I don’t trust anyone.” – This statement is made by people who have very likely been hurt, and hurt bad by others in their past. Their dislike and/or distrust for others, while perhaps real, is nonetheless a big wall erected to keep people at bay so they cannot be hurt again.
  2. “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.” – This statement screams of low self-esteem and of one’s overwhelming desire to fit in and be liked. They care so much, they seek (and get) attention by claiming the opposite.
  3. “I tell it like it is. I speak my mind; when it’s on my mind.” – This statement is an intimidation tactic used to strike fear into others and to coerce compliance. It’s a technique to appear outwardly strong and confident when internally, this person actually feels weak and unsure of themselves quite often.
  4. “I’m not a conformist; I do my own thing.” – Making this statement is also evidence of the opposite because everyone says it. There seems to be this irrational fear of conforming to anything in our society. It’s as if you’re less than, or weak if you do anything that the majority does. Of course, extreme conformity and spinelessness are no good. But, everyone is a conformist to some degree or another. It’s a requirement for a civilized society.

Eradicate these statements from your lexicon. They’re weak; therefore they make you look weak. And you can’t afford that when others’ attention is today’s compensation… So how do you handle someone spewing this stuff?

the shiFt:

First, understand that the exact opposite of what is being said is typically the truth. These phrases are psychological defense mechanisms to keep danger away; to keep others at bay, and to avoid having to experience any more pain.

Second, ask these folks some questions, lots of questions. These questions should be tailored to expose the folly of these over-generalized, blanket statements. Practitioners of “blag flag” phrases won’t take your word for it. They need to be guided (by your skillful questioning) to believe they’ve arrived at their own conclusions about the ridiculousness of these statements. Then, and only then, will they begin to shift their behavior and counter these self-defeating declarations.

Stay tuned-in…

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Sixteen

16

Older. Somewhat wiser. Still committed to learning, growing, and owning my own opportunity areas, despite my recurring resistance to this shit. You know what I mean… Acting on these areas is painful at times, and takes balls, but is truly worth it long-term.

I’ve unfortunately learned that the common sense defense is a commodity regardless of age. Thus there exists a plethora of pretenders out there. But, I’ve also learned that taking the high-road is the best high one can undertake in most cases. The benefit may not be immediate, but it’s a certainty, sooner or later.

Wisdom is demonstrated, not proclaimed

Stay tuned-in…


 

The “Common Sense” Defense

Sooooo often… sooooo unbelievably often… I hear some variation of the following statement while out training, teaching, or speaking:

“I already ‘know’ all of this stuff; it’s all just ‘common sense‘…”

Really? Give me a break… It’s a BIG, ballsy statement if you really think about it.

Someone is basically saying: “There’s nothing you have to offer here that I’ve not already learned, been exposed to, or already mastered. Your entire life, life experiences, and acquired education can offer me nothing new and useful to apply to my life because I ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING.”

Wow! Read it again and SAY it out loud this time; hear just how ridiculous this claim actually is…

CSD

By even making this assertion, you’re demonstrating the exact opposite of what you’re claiming. <Strike 1>. This supposed knowing indirectly asserts that the information is somehow less valuable because it’s “common” and therefore a commodity.

The BIG question you should be asking yourself: “Is this knowledge I claim to have evident in my actions?” If the answer is ‘No’ it doesn’t matter how much you ‘Know.’ It quickly becomes knowledge that is worth… less. Not worthless, just less valuable. <Strike 2>.

Knowledge is good. Acquire all you can. Learn, and then learn some more. Read and research ’til your heart’s content. But KNOW this: Knowing and doing are completely different. We all “know” lots of things. It doesn’t mean we consistently apply what we know. It’s not enough to know about something or to simply talk about something. We have to DO something and make things happen for the common to become uncommon. Recognizing this distinction and putting good knowledge into action to produce real, tangible results is rare.

Uncommon success in any area of life requires taking common sense on the road so-to-speak.

Those who are unable to bridge this knowledge-to-action gap (either because of oblivion or obstinance), are likely suffering from what I call the “Common Sense” Defense. This is a conscious and/or subconscious defense mechanism people use to manage their disappointment around their lack of progress or production in certain areas. This technique shields a person from the discomfort associated with facing themselves up-close-and-personal. This is so uncomfortable for many, that any method to avoid it will be employed. The most common tactic is to claim “common sense.”

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” ~ Albert Einstein

Smoking is an obvious, yet powerful example. No one will argue that smoking is hazardous for the health of the human body. People die from it every day. We can call this common sense because everybody knows it. Yet millions still smoke despite this common knowledge. History proves that the most profound wisdom and universal truths are simple to understand, yet often difficult to implement.

If your supposed knowledge is not evident in your actions; if I cannot “see” it demonstrated in your behavior, then this “knowledge” you claim is compromised, therefore inconsequential.

the shiFt:

Instead of proclaiming what you supposedly “know,” start demonstrating it in what you DO, everyday, in every way. Of course what some call common sense, others call crazy. It becomes a matter of perspective based on one’s social, cultural and educational background.

Soooo, to all of the “know-it-alls” out there, keep reading, listening, and watching here, there, and everywhere because YOU are the ones who likely Need It Most… If not, <Strike 3>…

Stay tuned-in…


Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!