“No problem” is a problem!
Do you know someone who uses the phrase “no problem”? Perhaps you use the phrase “no worries” instead. The later became more common with the introduction of the Crocodile Dundee movies. If you use either phrase, you need to keep reading.
It is commonplace today in our culture to use slang or newly coined phrases. Movies also impact our use of language. Some say that movies merely document the undercurrents in our culture. Others say that movies are just a medium to propagate traits that are already prominent. One could spend a lot of time discussing the role of movies, but we’ll take this discussion another way.
Let’s start with communication. Most people will recognize that communication misunderstandings happen all the time. We don’t always say what we are thinking. Others do not hear what we say, or misinterpret our meaning. They take clues from our body language, and take words out of context. How do we minimize our communication errors? For one thing … stop using the phrase, “no problem”.
One important lesson I learned from Ben Hogan in his book about being a better golfer is that the brain does not deal well with negative arguments. Think about it for a moment. You are ready to hit your golf ball. You are lined up. You think to yourself: Don’t slice, don’t lift your head, don’t overpower your swing, don’t swing fat, etc. What happens? You do one or many of these things.
First, there are way too many things to concentrate on when preparing to swing. Your brain will select only one or two things to concentrate on. The rest will be ignored. Second and more important to this message, your brain will not hear the “don’t”. It will only hear the slice, or the lift your head, or the overpower your swing, or the swing fat. Can you identify with this?
Ben makes the point that one should turn the phrase to the positive and focus on only one or two things. He would suggest that you say to yourself, swing straight, or connect solidly with the ball, or let the club do the work, or keep your head down. Let’s apply Ben’s wise philosophy to business remembering that the brain tends to ignore negative words like no, or don’t. The point is to turn the negative phrase to a positive one.
Typically one says no problem after some one gives you a compliment or says thank you. So when someone says that they appreciate your work, you say thank you, or I am happy to help, or glad to. When you say no problem, you might be leaving them with a less than fulfilling response, even though it is commonplace to do so. I wish you the best as you work on changing this behavior. You will be amazed at the different response you get from those around you.
Bob Stackhouse, President, Asset Commercial Credit
© Bob Stackhouse – All rights reserved – April 2013