‘Ethos, Pathos, Logos’

Three simple but rather uncommon words. Three great words not only for the public speakers but for everyone, according to me.
Today, I’ll talk about ‘Ethos’
What is Ethos? It reflects your credentials. I explain to my students like this. “Imagine that you are appointed Ambassador of your country to another state. The first job that you have to do is to present your authorization documents to the head of the state in which you are appointed Ambassador. Likewise, a speaker must present his/her credentials to the audience. The audience must know that you are the right person to speak on the subject. That you not only have the required qualification and knowledge to speak on the subject but also desire and enthusiasm to benefit the audience. This is about public speaking. But everyone is not a public speakers, you might argue.
Just to explain further, I’ll ask you a question. Suppose, you have to make an important phone call. Is it not necessary for the person to know that you are the right person, that you know what you are talking about and you have done your ‘home work’ before lifting the telephone. It’s only about forming a habit. Depending on what you are speaking about and to whom, it may take only a few seconds to reflect and then only you should make the call.
And please don’t forget to remember Aristotle for he was the first to describ these three words ‘Ethos, Pathos, and Logos’ which can bring about a great change in our lives!

‘Pehle Tol Phir Bol’

Elders used to say that simple old ‘sayings’ can guide you to live a successful life. One such saying in Hindi is “Pehle Tol Phir Bol”.

Literal translation in English would be “First weigh then speak”.

Literal English translation is rather awkward and does not convey the intent. “Think before you speak” too, according to me does not carry the same meaning and is rather ineffective. “Before speaking a few words one must consider the effects and their future impact” appears to convey the thought behind the same, though it does not seem to carry conviction.

Why there is so much importance of ‘considering’ or reflecting before speaking? How many of us are really following this simple principle. It is said  that  the tongue which is the chief organ of speech heals extremely fast. But the wounds that it can create in the mind of the listener sometimes never heal.

Lot of importance is laid, today, on interpersonal skills or the art of relationship building. ‘What you say and how you say it’ is instrumental in improving or spoiling your ‘interpersonal skills’.

Judgemental

I had attended a few lectures of a manager turned ‘swami’. Some treated him as a management consultant others as ‘guru ji’. He enjoyed both his titles. In his lectures, he would emphasis that one should not get involved any an action. He/she should remain as a witness.

‘How can you remain a witness when you are performing the action? What about ‘focus’? How can you improve performance without being focused? These are some of the questions that kept coming to my mind ever since I attended these lectures. His reason that in case you get involved you tend to become judgmental. But it did not really appealed to me ever.

Recently on one of the T.V. channel ‘English Vinglish’ was telecast. The central character Sridevi secretly starts learning English when she had gone to U.S. to attend wedding of her neice. She gives a big surprise to her family members including her husband by delivering a speech in English at the wedding reception. At first hesitatingly but later on with a reasonable confidence. The lasting message of her speech was don’t ever be ‘judgmental’ Earlier; she was slighted due to the lack of ability to speak English. Whenever she had shown desire to learn, her husband had mocked it away. But by learning English during a visit secretly and making an extremely intelligent speech she had proved everyone wrong.

I remembered the swami. His message ‘one should not be judgmental’ was now clear, after watching the movie. But remaining a witness and not getting involved is still a question,  unanswered.

“I don’t understand my child. He doesn’t listen to me”

An exasperated parent a lady in her early 40s went to a psychiatrist with a serious complaint about his only child.

‘Doctor, I am extremely upset about my son. I have exhausted all my options, I don’t understand him. He doesn’t listen to me.”

Doctor calmly said, “Say that again please” lady said, I said, I don’t understand my child. He doesn’t listen to me’

Doctor respected, “say that again”.

The lady raising her pitch of the voice said, “How many time you want me to repeat. I said I don’t understand my child. He doesn’t listen to me at all”

Doctor repeated the lady’s words you don’t understand your child. He doesn’t listen to you. Is that your problem madam?

‘Of course yes’ said the lady doctor omitted and said, well if you want to understand your child you must listen to him. Not by shouting at him.

How many times we are in similar situations. We blame others without listening to them.

C.P.U.

Computers must have their own CPUs. The ability to process commands faster depends on the power of the C.P.U. Or the central processing unit windows remain as of now the most used system by ‘Commoners’ geeks, I am told, have better options. As the capacity/ power C.P.U. is increasing in a rapid pace, so is the desire for the makers of ‘programming systems’ to add addition features. These make the system heavy, and may cause the CPU fatigue.

Every individual too, is equipped with a C.P.U. We can add more features to this unique C.P.U. by adding knowledge, and using it. What I call ‘application of mind’. The more you use the more powerful this C.P.U. becomes Instead of becoming heavier, the additional features or the abilities make the system lighter and decisions are made faster.

Equilibrium

as a child I had learned while studying science the importance of ‘equilibrium’. I do not clearly remember its definition. It meant to me the natural ability for a thing to stand up on its own – to maintain its stability. It was taught that if the center of gravity is closer to the ground, it increases the stability of anything in adverse circumstances. Like extreme push or pull, a jump or a fall etc.

Today, I find that equilibrium is equally important for human beings. What is means to me is the ability to retain our feet on the ground. Extreme emotions may tend to shake the feet but adequate control of the mind helps us develop the ability to remain on the ground.

Habits Die Hard

Habits die hard is commonly known. But forming new habits is equally hard. In the fast changing world that we are in today, we need ‘change’ more than anything else. Change in attitude and change in habits need to be priorities. Someone told me that if you do something at the same time daily, it becomes your habit. I have motivated some of my students, but the results are far from satisfactory. To form a new habit or to ward of the old one needs the following:

                                i.            Develop a strong desire to bring in the change.

                              ii.            Set a valid reminder system.

                            iii.            Define the milestones and the timeline.

St. Valentine's Day!

The popularity of St. Valentine’s day is increasing by the day. Unfortunately, the ignorance about the origin of St. Valentine’s day persists.

St. Valentine was a priest who lost his life because of his convictions. King Claudius of Rome wanted soldiers not to marry. His reason was that if they are married they would not want to fight battles. St. Valentine started marrying couples secretly. He was arrested. King Claudius thought that he was a well-meaning priest and therefore gave him an opportunity to change his activity and become a true Roman. He wanted him to propagate patriotism.

However, St. Valentine followed his conviction and did not listen to the King. He was executed on 14th February in the year 269 or 270 AD. We celebrate the day on 14th February. We celebrate with candies and bands, but we fail to remember the sacrifice of St. Valentine.

Appraisals

On 8th of this month I had to conduct a training programme for a small organization of less than 100 people.

Appraisals are difficult to conduct, by are necessary for the organisation. This is when you sit in judgment on people you have to deal on day-to-day basis. This is when you, as a manager have to perform this arduous task. You naturally become extra careful. You don’t want to annoy a person who is an integral member of your small team.

The biggest problem is whatever you do on that day of judgment sits as a permanent mark in the file of the person appraised.

In 50s & 60s there used to be large families in our country. It was not uncommon to find 6 and 7 and 8 children in a house. Parents were expected to treat them alike but could they ever do. Here, children were also expected to contribute to the growth and development of the family. But were they treated alike?  Same love and affection of father and of mother? Not really! Some would become favorite of their mother, others of their father. Often the father would hardly have the time to make any favorites.

In an organization, too, personal bias is bound to creep in. An Appraisal is expected to bring in differentiation. But in order that the objective of the appraisal is achieved, the Manager needs to rise above the personal likes and dislikes. The more arduous problem is the hesitation of the Manager. Hesitation to articulate what he/she objectively considers the correct comments on the person being appraised.

Songs that continue to shine!

In the absence of regular classical music concerts and the peoples’ declining love of the classical music, I’ll refer to Hindi film songs as the popular form of music.

Some sings have stood the test of time. Even though composed in 50s & 60s they are a pleasure to listen to. What are the qualities that distinguish from the ‘happening’ songs of today? One is the poetry; two, the simplicity of the tune; and three, the singer is given importance rather than the ‘inorganic’ electronic instruments. These days, a variety of sounds can be manipulated with the help of these instruments. Besides, the recording technology of ‘cut & paste’ music, the great original talent of the composer and the music arranger is no longer that important.

 The sad reality is that the modernity of the instruments, the advancement of recording technology and the concept of ‘hat ke’ (being different) in the field of films are all responsible for the decadence in the modern era. This seems so far removed from the golden era of unforgettable ‘film songs’.