Wednesday, October 23, 2013

iExamen 2

In this self reflection for iExamen 2 we are to say nothing that does not fit the three conditions of being kind, useful, and true. Individually these separate conditions do not appear too difficult to meet but when combined they become much more challenging. The difficulty in this reduced both the frequency and the length of my conversations, that are already short and scarce, by so much that I believed that I needed to try the task for more than a single day. During these days my speech was reduced to about half or less of my usual and if I was to do this exercise again I would attempt to count how many words I said in a day before and during the assignment.

Several years ago I had decided that I would stop saying mean or harmful things to others and stop using foul language. In this endeavor I have been very successful and never intentionally say mean things or use harsh language. This made the kind component of our speech fairly easy. The component that requires us to be truthful was also an easy component for myself as I can go out of my way not to lie to someone even if it is something that I do not want to tell them. The component that made speech difficult was the requirement for what is said to be useful. Most of the time we do not think about how often our speech has no real usefulness about it. Depending what you think of as useful this can remove almost all of a persons normal speech in a day. I found that based on what I thought was useful I would often have to bend the rules and reason with myself as to how something is useful. For example when just talking with someone in a friendly conversation between classes nothing is really useful but I might reason that by talking to them it gave them a place to relive stress by talking about their problems. However this did not happen so I then reasoned that by talking to someone they where forgetting their problems for a short time and therefore relieving some stress and becoming useful. Some of the things that I could not reason a useful value for were simple pleasantries such as, please, thank you, and hello. I got around the hello simply by waving rather than saying anything. With the please and thank you it would be considered rude not to say them but they were also not useful. Since the assignment stipulated that what we said needed fit those conditions logic said that I should not say please or thank you but in this I had to break the rules of the assignment.

Throughout the assignment I assume that most people would get more positive reactions from the assignment however the reactions from my experience where not. When doing this assignment some of the people I talk to seemed to become irritated that I talked even less than usual. This leads me to believe that the way I communicate is sufficient in being both useful and truthful but that my speech is not always useful. This I believe is okay because it seems on reflection that most of what people talk about is useless but yet may still serve the purpose of alleviating stress.

I believe that this practice hinders me in that it drastically reduced my speech because of my view of what is relevant and useful. I believe that to someone who does not already filter their speech to what is mostly useful or someone who is less strict in their view of what is useful this could help. I believe that the other two requirements by this assignment are the most helpful. Having virtually practiced these two for several years I can see clearly the benefits of both. In having kind speech the vast majority of people respond in kind when you talk to them. Through being truthful those around you will eventually see that you are trustworthy.

Some valuable lessons can be taken away from this assignment that result in better communication with those around you. In being kind you will yourself be spoken to kindly. When being truthful you will be seen as trustworthy and people will be more comfortable talking to you. By making most of your speech useful you will speak less allowing you to listen more and both will contribute to the appearance of yourself as being wise. The main point of this exercise however is to learn to think before you speak a principle that we hear time and time again it is required for this assignment and forces you to implement it.

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