Speak About by Stephen Hudak
“Speak about others as if they are present.” Wow! Stephen M.R. Covey has just solved about 90% of trust issues. Gossip. Water cooler talk. Text. Email. Social media. Would we say, write, some of the things we have if the other person were right in front of us? Doubtful. Social media has spawned a generation of keyboard warriors. People are brave when they cannot be seen. We trade long-term trust for short term power. Power gained by putting others down while briefly raising ourselves. This short-lived sense of power eventually will leave us empty.
Think about the negativity you’ve seen on Facebook or Twitter. People write those things because people hit “like” or “retweet” providing a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of being important. Would we do this is the other person were standing in front of us? Again, doubtful, but we continue to do it. Underline the first sentence in this essay. When you feel the urge (and it is strong) to speak or write something negative about someone remember this sentence.
Someone wrote “Is it true. Is it kind. Is it necessary.” If your words can pass all three of those and you can live with yourself, then post away. Otherwise, consider the consequences of your words. If the other person were right in front of you, how would this make them feel? How would it make you feel? Would you feel the same power-boost when you can see their face, their mouth slipping into a frown, their downcast eyes? Would you be willing to deal with their heartbreak or anger? It’s easy to think we can, but really think about this. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will scar deep and those wounds may never heal.
 From The Speed of Trust. Covey, Stephen M.R. page 174.
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