Remov ng the I

I - would not do this!!
A discipline which has been great about blogging has been removing the “I” from my posts. Not the word I, but “I statements”; statements about me.

This blog is about my thoughts, not ‘about me’.

I have often cut material from posts because it was detail about me and was not critical to the message.

Cutting out “I” made the posts stronger and more relevant to the recipient.

Whether I have done this or done that is never the point.

Readers can reasonably assume that I have done, tried or observed everything that I write about. Beating my chest about how well, or otherwise, I did is not of value in creating learning or engaging dialogue with my readership.

It’s OK to be confident but not arrogant. The distinction is an important one.

I hope these posts show confidence and courage not arrogance and neediness.

Yet in the organisational domain, and many social settings “I” is a huge component (and the first sign to have me looking for another conversation). Often the introduction is of no relevance to the topic and under some other guise:

    I was thinking about this when on my flight to Zurich the other day… (I fly internationally you know)

    When I was with ‘important person’ last week… (Understand that by inference I am an important person too)

    Yes service is terrible, the guys at the Audi garage couldn’t even call me back…(Did you know I have an Audi?)

    What did you do for the holiday weekend? (Just wait until I tell you about mine…)

I’m sure you get the drift.

It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to promote yourself. Often what you achieve is to demote others. They perceive you as full of self importance or ignoring of their comment. And especially entertaining to observe in small groups is the “mines bigger than yours” extension of these conversations – “Oh yes my flight to ‘terribly important place’ was delayed too…”

So think about your “I statements”.

Hold them back.

Try leaving the world to decide for itself whether or not you are nice, important, well travelled, well-heeled, clever, well connected etc.

I predict your success at removing “I statements” will lead to (for starters):

  • More constructive conversations
  • People being more willing to share with you
  • Your personal trust and respect increasing
  • You seeing more goodness and greatness in others

I’ll be off now.

5 Replies to “Remov ng the I”

  1. Dear Richard,
    A really and truly eye opener post.I Love it.Many a times we use “I” unconciously though our intention is right, but I think I disconnect and we connect with people, purpose and position. Just imagine, you might feel it. “I” also is the sign of being egoistic and we ” being pursuative”. I have seen people with lot of ego use “I” that infact, hold them back. In short run, they may achieve what they want by marketing or promoting them but in long run, people come to know thier real worth and they are exposed that time. So, those who use “I” limit their circle and those who use “We” broden their circle. We also come with candor and credence but “I” probably always come with selfishness and self development. So, the people who use “We” are also the people with good attitude and concern about society and individual responsibility. I was aware about that, however, today onwards I will try to refrain from using I.

    1. Dear Ajay
      thank you so much for this comment it adds to the post very well. I am always deeply moved when one of my posts resonates so well with a reader. Thank you again for such a willing and open contributions to this community. Warm regards, Richard

  2. Dear Richard,
    Removing ‘I’ from the statements that we make or write is quite good and desirable. Yet, it’s just not easy. Creating a good impression is a natural phemonena. It can be used to add to your confidence level and motivate people to achieve the desired success. However, it should not reflect your ego or lead to feeling of too much by way of boasting for others to swallow. It can otherwise bring rivalry or jealousy amongst people.

    Hence, ‘we’ approach is always preferred in the field of management.

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