No. 190



There is a well known principle that says, "If you wish to achieve success, all you have to do is find a need and fill it." However, other than basic needs, most of our opportunities will be based on our degree and level of people skills. Believe it or not, how we use our language can go a long way in helping us achieve success. It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to invest a little time and suggest a few ways to clean up your language.

Of course I realize that your language may already been as "clean as a hound's tooth" and if it is, you are my kind of people. On the other hand you may be one of those people who have a foul mouth and this can run the gamut of a four letter word here and there, to being crude and even to being just plain vulgar. Here understand that I'm not trying to be a moral policeman but if people with a foul mouth understood what it was costing them, many would jump at the chance to do something about it.

In my business, as well as my outlook on life, one of the things I love is a good clean joke. To me, this is the kind of joke that is not suggestive, does not put some person or group down because of race, class or creed and in general does not harm other people in any way. Many of the good jokes I run across do not meet this criteria to the letter but they can often be cleaned up and as a result be in good taste and be helpful in a number of ways.

Here is a good example. One time I heard the famous humorist Bob Murphy tell the story about "Cousin Slim" from Texas who went to England to visit some of his distant relatives. When he had settled in, a few days later they took him Fox hunting. After the hunt was over one of his relatives said, "Cousin Slim, over here in our country our customs and the manner in which we express ourselves is just a wee bit different. For instance, when the dogs begin the chase and the fox is spotted we say, "tallyho-o-o-o, the fox. We don't say, HEAD THAT RED SON OF A GUN." As you can tell, this is a great story and Bob has cleaned it up just a little.

At this point, I would like to give you several reasons why people use profanity. The vast majority of people do so out of habit. When they are around people every day, in their home or work environment, who use profanity, they soon pick it up and many times don't even know they are doing it. Another reason many people use profanity is because of low self-esteem. Especially in their own peer group, these people use profanity because they think it makes them appear tougher, stronger and a part of the "in" crowd. Many times young people use profanity for the same reasons but they also think it makes them come across as "cool" to talk like adults. Who can blame them after years of gutter language on television, radio and much of the music they listen to? And finally, many people use profanity because they have a very limited vocabulary.

Here is something we should all think about. Except by silence, the one thing we cannot hide is the use of our language. When we open our mouth and begin to speak, we proclaim to the world where we are on the cultural and social pyramid. To do something about our use of foul language we must feel the need. A person with "real class" never uses profanity. He or she knows who they are and they know that it's not necessary to try to impress others with a foul mouth. In relation to what I have been saying, here is a final question. How many jobs, sales, raises, promotions or speakers who have never been invited back because of just one four letter word? (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)