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Your Two Enemies, Mouth and Foot
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What comes from our own mouths can be more defeating than a knockout blow from a heavy weight.

Sometimes, looking at what others are doing (or not doing) are good ways to learn how to handle our own affairs and succeed. A few days ago, I had an opportunity to read some content from another site. It would make any reader wonder as the information unfolded. In light of the fact that it was written by a person who is having chronic problems with finding permanent work, some explanations (although they may be inaccurate) began to fall into place.

Sometimes we simply say the wrong thing. There can be a lot of factors that cause this to happen. Maybe striking out on one's left foot is because there is no awareness of certain protocols (lack of education on a particular subject). Naivete can also cause one to make a socially imprudent move. Just trying too hard can result in the reverse of what is actually desired. Have you ever strained to the nth to get something only to have it come crashing down and splintering into a few hundred pieces?

There are also times when passive-aggressive behavior can be a defeating move (and it usually is). In the instant situation, the writing starts off as a rather pleasant and informational recitation of information. Unfortunately, it seems to devolve into a rather subtle and indirect jab at one of those who is supposed to provide feedback, support, and training. This is an excellent way to alienate. Little low-key jabs will not draw a direct response but they do engender a mental note of what transpired and a second thought about the situation. Although it will be cast off in deference to more important matters, there will be increasing reasons for avoidance of the person. Although their work may have no basis for fault, if involved in contract situations, they will not be asked to stay longer or return.

The first step to overcoming this is to be honest -- honest with one's self. The next step is to become assertive and speak up (tactfully, diplomatically) when it is important to say how you feel about a situation. The key here, however, is to know whether something is important and the degree of importance it bears to the overall situation.

sometimes, it isn't necessary to assert yourself in order to gain a particular right in order to be respected. Respect can come from being really good at what you do, efficient, or knowledgeable. Speaking in order to add to the conversation with a meaningful contribution or insight that will either prevent a costly misstep or shed light on something that is missing will create credibility and respect that lead to increased value and permanence.

It's important to know what questions are the ones that illuminate. Remaining silent when you realize no one else is aware of a missing step is reverting to passive-aggressive behavior. It's a bit like wishing failure on the group so that you can powerfully walk away with an "I told you so" flair.

The author of the piece had an interesting "voice" so I read a little more of their content. Sure enough, the classic signs of passive-aggressive behavior were woven throughout nearly every contribution to the site. While the author may be a very good person, until this defeating behavior is squarely faced, the repetition of their cycle of rejection will continue. Although it may not be oral speech the next time, the symbolic speech of acts or failure to act, of delaying or excusing one's self from performing, the malady of mouth and foot will still keep this one's feet moving on to the next situation.

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