You can if you think you can


That’s what Dr Norman Vincent Peal said when I heard him speaking to us in 1967 at the Millpark Stadium, Johannesburg.

One of the greatest discoveries of our time is that an individual can control what he says and what he does by the way he thinks. Unfortunately, many people assume that they can’t control the way they express themselves. Day by day they carry on making the same conversational blunders. The fact is that anyone can match wits against the “Opponents” of successful communication and win. Assuming that you have the desire to win, the principle expressed by Dr Peal applies to you “You can if you think you can.”

Communication that wins a positive response from others can provide you with a new way of life. Nothing is more essential to success in any area of your life than the ability to communicate well. Nothing can compare to the joy of communicating love, of being heard and understood completely, of discovering some profound insight from another’s mind, or of transmitting your own thoughts to a rapt audience. Self-concepts are enhanced, attitudes broadened, beliefs deepened, perspectives clarified, hopes restored, frustrations dissolved and hurt feelings healed. This is what we call the miracle of dialogue. Therapists have seen such miracles occur in the midst of their counselling. When you play the communication game to win, a big part of the payoff is that your partner in communication wins as well

Our communication is not always successful. When Pope John Paul II Visited the US in 1979, a news reporter rushed up to him and asked him what he thought of the go-go girls in New York.

Having been warned by an aide that some journalists might distort his words, the pope hesitated, then asked cautiously, “Are there go-go girls in New York?” As the story goes, the next morning a front page news article read “The first question the pope asked upon his arrival here was “Are there go-go girls in New York?”

Whether the story was apocryphal or not, it demonstrate that no one is free from being misunderstood. Our words sometimes produce the very opposite effect of what we intended. We hurt another’s feelings, provoke anger and create psychological distance even when what we really desire are understanding, intimacy, and companionship

Can we increase the number of times when thoughts are transferred from one to another freely and well? Can we isolate that which promotes communication and that which breaks it down? Can we change our attitudes, our choice of words? Effective communication on a consistent basis is possible.

In Summary, communication, good or bad is a learned behaviour.
You can make a significant difference in the quality of your interpersonal communication. When you act on new insights, you achieve understanding. Listen with understanding, assert yourself as you speak with confidence. Learn to say no or yes when you want to and allowing the other person the same privilege. Establish mutual respect when talking with children.

If you just communicate you can get by. But if you skilfully communicate, you can work miracles. Jim Rohn

To your success in becoming an effective communicator
Martin Louw DTM

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