A few days ago, I was browsing on my LinkedIn account and I came across a very inspiring short video about how people succeeded in rescuing a humpback whale in Rio de Janeiro. The clip was very interesting to watch, and the number of views, likes and comments was tremendous.
The most interesting part for me, though, were the comments, especially some of the more ironic ones. These made me deeply think about some professionals, since LinkedIn is a professional platform. Despite their designations, qualifications, experience, age, etc, it was surprising for me to read those negative lines, which so indicated their personalities, energies and the way they view life. Such comments made me wonder: how are we going to evolve as a species if we cannot “feel” compassion and love for others, including animals? Why do some people focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right? What would you benefit from writing such a negative comment? How do such words have an impact on you?
Let’s try to give these people the benefit of the doubt, and not be judgmental. Let’s try to use my LinkedIn example to reflect on life in general. Here’s an exercise: can you remember a social situation where you suddenly heard a surprising, unnecessary and silly comment from one of the people present? Take few seconds to feel that moment, and answer these questions. What did you feel in that moment? What conversation were you having with yourself in your mind? Who do you evaluate – the person or the comment? What does this comment tell you about the person?
Sometimes, stupid things happen under some conditions, and some people are kind enough to forgive and forget. However, people genuinely have an immediate perspective after they hear a silly comment. It’s so distracting, annoying and sometimes upsetting to be in that situation where you hear that kind of dialogue. But what if you were the one who made that comment? What if you were the one who leaped to such a negative reply without weighing its effect?
I’m sure that you all agree on the importance of thinking before speaking. The simple word “think” has a beautiful application in the case of such a comment: So before making one, think… Is it…True? Is it…Helpful? Is it…Important? Is it…Necessary? Is it…Kind? This reminds me of a colleague who had a metaphor about a “giraffe.” He used to say: before you blurt out what you want to say, always remember the giraffe’s neck. Imagine taking your words through that tall neck and thinking about them prior to sharing them. This will assure you use the right words.
Finally, remember that what you say – or write in a comment section – will definitely represent who you are, how you see things; it will reflect your skills, your personality and the impact you may have on others. It might be easy for you to say whatever you want, but take a second and remember the effect on those around you. And above all remember, as the Prophet Mohammed said, “Let him speak good or remain silent.”
Sarah Al Bakeri
This Emirati mother of three began her professional career in information technology, moving on to public administration. But as Sarah has herself realized, in order to live a truly authentic life, following your passions is key. And so she trained to become a co-active coach through the The Coaches Training Institute.