Don't trust the loudest voice in the room

Category : Communication, Reflections ยท by Jul 16th, 2015

One curious pattern I’ve observed during college is that as a person’s verbal promise grows in magnitude and audacity, the actions corresponding to the promises tend to be more subdued.

In other words, if you hear a person proclaim that “I will change the world!” Then it would be a favorable to bet that the person is very unlikely to change the world. On a smaller scale, the more enthusiastic someone agrees to a gathering or a collaboration later, the more we are right suspect that the person will bail when the time comes.

Several possible explanations to this phenomenon comes to mind. One is a version self-licensing effect that doesn’t deal with just morals but actions to require some self-discipline to deal out in general. The rush of euphoria that comes with a bold statement may trick the speaker into believing that concrete measures are being taken to advance the goal. In fact, nothing concrete is done until something concrete is actually done.

The second explanation may be that the style of the statement itself tends to arise from episode of emotional swings. Even more so than mental illness, I observe that the swings comes from two places: an innate emotional temperament and/or unstable self-esteem. In both cases, perhaps influenced by the need to aggrandize oneself on from of an observer, the proclaimer makes an exorbitant remark and forgets it shortly after.

Finally, it may be possible that holding such statements within can actually channel energies towards the desired goals. Speaking is a means of self-expression, but the expression could be substituted with action through a process somewhat like sublimation. I realize that this is the less scientific-sounding than the previous two, but from personal experience, I feel that it might bear some weight.

Self constraint, overt optimism, and lack of intermediate goals are all additional factors that could explain the phenomenon. But at least for me, the course of action is clear- never make big promises without much prior thought.

For those who are reading, please don’t, without a proper context, tell me that you will be that next “changer”.


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