Diminished impact

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

“I’m fed up ‘cos all you want to do is criticize”…sang Alexander O’Neal and deliberately spelt in the American-English version.

In this world we’re in, and in democratic states of course, we can say what we like about topics and issues and others can disagree and challenge. Be it a discussion with your significant other about the choice of wallpaper for the feature wall, to a chat with a cabbie about the educational policies of the Government.

Question Time on the BBC is a great debating forum for political and societal issues and not for the feint hearted. Audience participation is a key part of this and proves either the man-in-the-street can trump the politicians or some thoughts ought to be left to ferment a little more in peoples’ heads.

We don’t have to agree with each other and we express the what and why behind that and somehow we either try and convince our fellow humans we have merit and that they adjust their views.

We may not even wish to “win” – we may simply wish to provoke more thought and discussion amongst others (whilst being mindful of becoming a sociopath with no real intent other than to feed their own desires).

Some situations around such challenges get heated, argumentative, sarcastic, dogmatic yet there’s a richness to be had in open discussion to help shape thoughts. Many people enter into such frays to prevent someone making a pillock of themselves and others.

Plenty of people just don’t get into this kind of arena – actively avoiding conflict. It would be a strong assumption to make that they are short of thoughts or confidence; they maybe don’t want/need to get involved in “spats”. Others love the cut and thrust of a verbal joust. It’s not an introvert / extrovert stereotype either.

Up for a debate? Strong on contra views and share them regularly? Controversial and edgy in your dialogue? Sounds good doesn’t it.

A cavalier of the conversation.

A buccaneer of the banter.

At the vanguard of the vernacular.


A predictable pulverizer

A roll-your-eyes rambler

A pay-it-no-heed pundit

If ALL you do is the equivalent of BBC’s Grumpy Old Men then it is my assertion you diminish, negate or totally lose the impact you wanted to have with your prose.

Want to shift people’s minds to a better way? Choose your critique carefully.

Moan like a trooper over almost everything? Then be prepared to get lost in the wilderness of dismissable “oh that’s just how they are” reactions.

Worse still – insult, berate, take the piss…lose, lose some more and lose pretty much every time.

Now, equally so, being ultra positive about everything is probably as annoying to some as having a permanent grump-on. So I’m not advocating we need to be living in an episode of “The Waltons” or like a Retreat for the Extremely Happy.

Positivity can change the world for the better as much as calling something out can help avoid or overcome a tyranny.

Being too much on either side will result in diminished impact. Always positive; not taken seriously. Always negative; moans about everything. On both, a lot of the reaction created is “So what?. Just like they always are. Now what was the topic..?”

One difference though stands out for me: acknowledegment of others in a positive sense is very likely to induce a good reaction. Not gushy mind, just positive and factual. Sincere and specific.

Criticise carelessly and it’s like a verbal glare and “come on” to induce an argument. Even carefulcriticism could lose your impact before you’ve even got going.

And think you’ll get away with non-personally directed criticism lumping people into one amorphous glob? Then you will likely cause a negative reaction as often we may go “they’re talking about me…” and that’s people not being overly paranoid, more a natural reaction.

I defer to the great Jazzie B OBE and the Soul II Soul’ track Dare to Differ

Dare to differ
Dare to be different
Change the rules
Become the leader of your own new school
Listen, have a mind of your own
Or be somebody else’s fool

Why do we suffer so much pain
When there’s so much more for all of us to gain
Forget your wallets man, just use your brain
You know I’m saying?
When will we all finally learn
That we deserve exactly what we earn
There ain’t no shame,
Just show your pride to all concerned

A nation of moaners. About the weather, the state of immigration, the newspapers. This presents another picture. Dare to be different. Not dare to be miserable; or even dare to be happy-clappy.

Dare though, is sometimes killed outright before it’s even gotten going.

Just think of the fallout of your overly fluffy happiness or your dark clouds of doom.

Not good.

Daring yourself into something foolish and others smile away whilst you are on the road to making a  burke of yourselves or others.

Not good.

Daring to speak up about something you deem worthy but is shot down in flames of venomous attack by others simply because they don’t like “it” or the phraseology used?

Not good.

Encouragement; support; belief – these aren’t given without thought though: they are though gifts that can turn criticism into impact; concern into acceptance and challenge into action.

Chastise, knock down, insult – too easily dismissed, the cause of overly-emotional arguments which rarely get anywhere; a waste of good intellectual energy.

We’re cleverer and more considerate than that. Aren’t we?

I’m fed up ‘cos all you wanna do is criticize…


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