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Sucker punch!

This graphic is from my favourite tee – the shirt is a well-worn item on its last legs, but I don’t want to cast it out of my wardrobe yet: its status though has been downgraded to sleepwear / exercise-wear.2013-05-13 09.31.28

The reason for it’s survival is staring back at you from the page – it is a classic example of a paraprosdokian.  The twist in the tail is witty but catches people off-guard. It may bring a wry smile to a few faces, but chances are that many of them would be annoyed.

Don’t we often behave this way when we respond to our family, friends and co-workers?

A team-member walks up to the manager and says, “Boss, I closed the XYZ Technologies order. It will cover my quota for the next two months.”

Manager responds, “About time too. You have been messing up my numbers for the last 2 quarters.”

How about this one? A colleague walks up to you and says, “Did you hear the news? I have been promoted as Manager of the division”. You respond in a bland voice “Congrats, buddy. All the best,” There is no joy on your face either.

A scene that is played out at so many homes – son runs excitedly to Dad, who has just got home from work, and says “Dad! Dad! I hit a six in the cricket match at school.” Dad, who has had a terrible day at the office, responds “That’s nice! Go tell mom that I want a cup of tea.”

Energy Sappers! Motivation Killers! Spoil-sports! That’s what a lot of us unknowingly end up being by not taking charge of our emotions.

The Manager lost a huge opportunity to push the average-performer into a consistent good performer when he refused to pick up the cue to motivate the subordinate. An effusive and positive response from him could have set the tone for a constructive dialog with his team-member.

The miffed colleague in the second sample probably was in the running for the Manager’s position and when it went to a friend the resentment and frustration showed – this person could have managed emotions in a mature manner and participated in the colleague’s success.

The Dad quite obviously was behaving like a child here. Drowning in his own frustrations the parent ended up disappointing his own child. If he were in charge of his emotions this situation could have been used to help him recover from the bad vibes at the office and return him to a happy state. In the process his child would have stayed happy and excited too.

It’s important to be able to take charge of our emotions. So much happens during a day or in the course of a year, some happy events and some not so happy ones; the idea is to interpret and understand each of and respond in a mature way.

It’s important to celebrate the success of your friends, associates and family-members. Relationships can be strengthened or broken by your reactions.

And it’s important to rationalize when one fails – derive the right messages from the situation with the intent to recover from the fall. Wallowing in self-pity or displaying anger and scorn would be extremely short-sighted and destructive ways of dealing with the situation.

Our inability to react logically or sensibly can have a devastating effect on the recipient of that unexpected blow!


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The author, Jayadev Menon, has his own consulting & training practice, AKSH People Transformation.  To know more about his Training and Coaching solutions visit http://www.akshworld.com or write to jayadev.menon@akshworld.com

  1. Kailash
    May 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Good one J, the problem is everyone knows this but (at time) very few of us can follow it.

    • JayadevM
      May 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      True! An ounce of practice is worth tonnes of preaching.

      Thank you, Kailash.

  2. May 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    We all long for appreciation from others while we are miserly in doing the same for others. It happens often at school where the teachers are too tired to take note and commend the efforts of the students.

    • JayadevM
      May 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Bindu,

      Yes, at every level and in all domains we miss out on the essential and the obvious.

      Encouragement and appreciation helps to create the salubrious environment in which talent can thrive and grow.

      Thank you for reading my article.

  3. May 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Jayadev, you often remind me Lord Krishna, driving the chariot of your blog, dispensing golden drops of wisdom.

    Yes< “It’s important to celebrate the success of your friends, associates and family-members.”

    • JayadevM
      May 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Good lord! 🙂

      परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
      धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे यु

      Jokes apart it was only a small effort to tell my readers that there exists a huge opportunity in this simple act.

      Thank you for the effusive appreciation … I guess you decided to put message into action immediately. 🙂

      • May 15, 2013 at 2:25 am

        You bet! 🙂

  4. Sandip Janardan
    May 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    So true.This is despite all of us understanding the importance of motivation & positive reinforcement.Unfortunately we fail to remeber that it is the oxygen everyone needs ALL the time .. irrespective of how long he or she has been around .Sadely we remember it only when the child is still small, the employee is still new & the courtship/relationship is still young.

    • JayadevM
      May 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Well said, Sandip.

      Glad you stopped by.

  5. May 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    wow !! thoughtful read . so much we can improve if we keep our sensibility intact

    • JayadevM
      May 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Hi My Say

      Sorry! I had failed to respond to your comment.

      Glad that you could visit my blog and share a thought after reading the article.

      Best wishes!

      • May 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm


  6. Biju Krishnan
    May 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    An excellent choice of graphic for this article. Paraprosdokian – thats a tongue twister, never actually figured out this figure of speech but now its very clear. Emotional intelligence is very rarely used in our struggle / race to reach (where? many are not sure!). It was once said by a wise man that the best antidote to depression is to be of service to others. One kind of service would be to listen to others from your heart.

    • JayadevM
      May 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you, Biju.

      You response, as always, is direct, pithy and unambiguous.
      Good Service is a rare commodity. Let’s hope more people / organisations will realise the need for it and make necessary changes.

  7. May 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    So so true Jay! Great words of wisdom!

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