Fifty-One (51)

An often underestimated critical life skill, personally and professionally, is to recognize when you’re being any one of the following types >> and then knocking it the hell off by making the necessary changes to improve:

  1. the know-it-all
  2. the tool
  3. the dick
  4. the huff and puffer
  5. the crock star
  6. the loud talker
  7. the avoider
  8. the assumer, or
  9. the pretender

Quite a list… Just one short of a Top 10 list… If considering any of these pisses you off, then you’re likely one (or more) of them. And someone who needs it most.

Not negative, just honest; there is a difference.

And there will be lovers & haters no matter what you do. But, if the goal is to attempt to make the world a better place, even if only a little, then you’re winning. And I like to win.

Agree or disagree; just no apathy.

Stay tuned-in…

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Tool IQ


In the very popular Tool Time series (pats self on back), I call out the nine parts of the “RPM” approach to avoid being a “tool” most of the time. Here is a self-survey to assess your potential toolness. Answer YES or NO to each statement below based on if it rings true for you. honestly and quickly. Score yourself at the bottom. If your results are surprising or disappointing, revisit Tool Time Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 ongoing as needed for a refresher.


  1. I rarely consider, or give much credence to the point-of-view of anyone other than myself.
  2. I’m usually right about most things the vast majority of the time.
  3. If I feel strongly about it, it must be right and true regardless of any facts to the contrary.
  4. I don’t hesitate to tell people exactly how I feel, when I’m feeling it because I don’t mince words. I’ve always been this way, and that’s just the way I am. Deal with it.
  5. I believe that if “I’ve always been this way,” then I will always be this way and “that’s just the way I am,” so there’s no point or possibility of changing anything about me.
  6. That which I don’t fully understand must be inferior, if not outright wrong, bad, and/or fucking bullshit.
  7. I frequently feel that the world is full of goddamn idiots with the exception of me and a few of my close friends and family.
  8. My communication skills don’t need improvement. I’ve got all the “soft skills” down pat. I’m good to go. Next…
  9. I will rain on other people’s parades if their accomplishments or achievements infringe on my self-esteem, or threaten my fragile ego in any way, shape, or form.
  10. I often assume that if it’s important to me, then it should be equally important to you. If it’s not, then you’re a jackass.
  11. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me, and frequently say so.
  12. This post and this list is fucking stupid and pisses me off.


Total your number of YES responses and divide it by your chronological age, and then multiply by 100. This is your Tool IQ number. Scale = the lower the number, the less of a Tool you are. The higher the number, the more of a Tool you are. The scale skews down the older you are. For example, if you answer 8 of 12 YES, your Tool IQ will be mathematically higher the younger your chronological age. The math correlates because the logic is simple: a younger chronological age combined with a higher frequency of YES responses, yields a higher Tool IQ score. This rings true because the younger you are, the more of a Tool you are for already being that way so fucking young.

If you answered Yes to even one of the above, you show “Tool” tendencies. Knock it the fuck off, and revisit the Tool Time Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 posts ongoing as needed.

Agree or disagree; just no apathy.

Stay tuned-in…

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Tool Time-Part 3

The Tool Time series embraces the RPM model of Communichology™ strategies. In the two previous Tool Time articles, I recommended embracing the 3R’s (Part 1) and the 3P’s (Part 2) to avoid being a “tool” much of the time. In this final installment, here now are the 3M’s:

  1. MANAGE your emotions. Pleeeeaaaasssseeee keep your emotions in-check and under control. I know you get upset and frustrated and irritated sometimes… we all do. But there’s simply no excuse for spewing your stuff onto everyone else just because “you’re having a bad day.” Huff and puff in private please. Take the necessary steps to first monitor, and then manage the expression of these emotions. There IS a time and a place. Figure out when and where those are to spare the rest of us your drama.
  2. MODEL others who’s communication skills you admire. You see them… at work, at home, when you’re having fun, even when you’re not necessarily paying attention. These are the non-tool-types who seem to intuitively know how to handle almost any situation with grace and ease. Be purposeful about seeking out, and learning from these people. Notice the subtleties that separate them from the Tools who are really reactive, from the Cools who are primarily proactive.
  3. Finally, MULTIPLY and MAGNIFY your awareness. Pay attention to your attention. This is arguably the most important component. Tools are often oblivious to much of what’s going on around them, and it shows. On a daily basis, there are many situations and circumstances where strategic communication skills can literally change lives when applied appropriately, in the moment. Sound like an overstatement? It’s not. If you cannot “see” what’s really happening, how can you expect to respond appropriately? You can’t. Tools overestimate their communication skills and underestimate the destruction this causes.

Those who refuse to be Tools Recognize, Prepare, and Manuever through the many mazes of effective communication, day in and day out.

Don’t be a Tool. Be Cool.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Tool Time-Part 2

In Tool Time-Part 1, I strongly recommended embracing the 3R’s to avoid being a “tool” much of the time. I was simply advocating doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.

Here in Part 2, I’m proposing the 3P’s to lowering one’s “Tool-IQ” for effective communication:

  1. Consider if alternatives to your way of thinking are POSSIBLE. Tools have knee-jerk reactions to other options that oppose their own manicured mythology. In other words, the biggest tools have closed minds. They rarely consider alternative approaches or methods that may challenge their own preferences, prejudices, and opinions. Asking the “is it possible” question is always appropriate and necessary. Anything less is foolish and the epitome of toolness.
  2. Be POLITE. It’s OK, really it is. Saying “excuse me” or “thank you” or “please” is a foreign language to the ambassadors of Tool-ville. These words and phrases rarely escape their lips. Why? Two reasons: 1) Unawareness. This type of common courtesy is simply not on their radar… these are the Grade-B Tools. 2) Pride. These types know better, but rarely choose to embrace any appropriate amount of ettiquete. These tools have an entitlement mentality so convincing that they believe they’re better than everyone else … these are the Grade-A Tools.
  3. Exercise some PATIENCE. Please slow the fuck down… in the store, in your car, in life in general. Give others some space. Back the fuck off. Don’t crowd people in lines. Don’t huff and puff or throw mini-tantrums in Wal-Mart. Relax. Nobody else cares about your starring role in the reality-show in your head. Tools tout their nonverbal impatience for all to see. Tools fail to shrewdly notice their situational surroundings. Tools think they’re the only ones waiting while in a hurry. Tools rarely recognize the importance of timing and having class. When you have one, you most likely have the other.

Great communication results from thinking critically, treating others as you wish to be treated, and demonstrating restraint at times. Not-too-complicated, yet so under-executed.

Why is this so hard for so many?

Because all people (you AND I) are largely self-centered. We’re thinking about ourselves more than we’re not. This gets in the way of being an effective communicator and responding appropriately much of the time because we’re blinded by our own agendas, wants, and needs. To overcome this requires a person to consciously embrace the concept of selfless-selfishness. This is the deliberate choice to put the wants of others first. By doing this, you will get what you need second. This is the opposite of our instincts, somewhat counter-intuitive, but no less imperative. Everybody wins, but only by reducing the Tool-In-You first.

Don’t be a Tool… check out Part 1 and Part 3.

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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Tool Time-Part 1

I see it and hear it everywhere, all of the time.

Chronic, crappy communication happening between people offline and online via voice mail, email, text, tweet, nonverbal, and face-to-face interactions everyday, in every way. This is Tool Time

Most aren’t even aware that they are falling short and failing in these areas. These are the “Tools.” These are men and women of all ages, incomes, colors, and creeds. In their world, Tool Time is all the time. The problem is that these aren’t the types of tools that fix things. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broke.

The Urban Dictionary lists several sublime definitions of the word “tool” though none of these deft distinctions accurately fit my application here. So, here’s my definition within the context of this piece:

Tool (noun) – 1) A blow-hard who claims they’re a great communicator, but often demonstrates the exact opposite in their actions. 2) A numb-nut who devalues the necessity of sharpening their communication skills ongoing because they claim to “already know all of this stuff.” 3) Someone suffering from chronic communication self-delusion disease.

To start, here are the 3 R’s to avoid being a Tool most of the time:

  1. RESPOND when someone compliments or congratulates you. If someone takes the time to extend a nice gesture your way, the least you can do is say “thank you”. Ignoring this speaks negative volumes about your Toolness. It says you don’t care (even if you do). Failure to acknowledge a shout-out turns into an insult that gets boomeranged back to the sender. How friggin’ hard is it to take 10 seconds to show that you are not a complete, obliviously insensitive Tool?
  2. Be RESPONSIVE to timelines you give or receive. If you say, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow,” then Get Back To Them Tomorrow! Follow-through for fuck’s sake… Failure to do so is telling others they are not that important to you, and/or you don’t care if others view you as a large Tool. If you truly do not care about either of the above, then you truly are one of the larger Tools in the box, and should click-off now.
  3. Relinquish need to be RIGHT all of the time. Tools think they’re always right. They’re not, you’re not, and neither am I. Be open to the possibility that you either a) don’t have all of the information necessary, or b) you may have some inaccurate information at times. Humility and Toolness are inversely proportional. When the ego is in check, the Tool-In-You has likely checked out.

Don’t be a Tool… check out Part 2 and Part 3. Test your Tool IQ as well…

Stay tuned-in…

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!