by Zeenat Merchant-Syal
This is a guest post from Zeenat Merchant-Syal from Positive Provocations. I started reading Zeenat’s blog a few months ago. When I realized she loved Mark Twain as much as I did, I begged her to write this post, on the condition that I would do a dance. I am dancing right now, I promise. Enjoy the post.
While I was in school, my most favorite subject was always English. I loved the stories, the poetry, the subtle magic. It somehow seemed like this magical subject for me compared to Math and Chemistry of course!! Now who can find the magic in math and chemistry???? Certainly not me.
I always felt safe with my books and thankfully with the stories I read at that time. Whether I liked them or not, most of these stories left a very deep impact on the way I thought. It was only natural that as i grew up, and began to learn about these writers who told me these beautiful stories, I would have favorites. One Such favorite Writer/Author was and still is Mark Twain.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer became my favorite books. As with all natural curiosity, I read almost all of Mark Twains books. In my teenage years and even now, I am still in awe of this man. With every book I read, I found another facet of this man opening up.
It’s said that each writer writes with examples from his own life. And two aspects of Mark Twain’s life and personality were the bench mark in all of his writing- his awesome sense of humor and his ability to speak his mind.
Today I am going to attempt to show you how we can incorporate these two facets in our life:
Sense Of Humor
“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” ~Mark Twain~
In day to day life, culminating a good sense of humor is often hard to do. Its hard to have a sense of humor when you’re having a financial crises or when you’re sick or when things are simply down in the dumps. But, as all great things come in surprise packages, so does humor.
These are the times when you need to keep that sense of humor up in order for you to break the intensity of the situation youre in. Humor can be used like a kind of coping mechanism.
It lightens the aura of negativity and instantly fills it in with some positive light. Usually its this positive light that will give us the courage and strength to make rational decisions in these difficult times.
Ability to Speak Your Mind
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” ~Mark Twain~
There are times when you need to make a point, but you have to do it right. When it comes to speaking their minds, the vast majority of people in this world fall under either one of two categories: they either speak their minds without considering the feelings of others, or they do not speak their minds at all. To become successful, you must be different from these people.
You must know how to speak your mind without offending a lot of people at the same time. However, one thing that you have to accept is that you will sometimes ruffle the feathers of others when speaking your mind, and the reason for this is because there will always be people who do not agree with you.
When it comes to speaking your mind, the last thing you want to be is a coward. A coward tries to avoid speaking his mind “in order to avoid conflict.” Trying to avoid conflict is worthless and meaningless, simply because it is a fact of life.
We live in a world full of non-altruistic humans who think first and foremost of themselves.
What this means is that they will be quick to impose their ways of life on you, and many of them will try to control you. Your goal should be to make sure this does not happen.
The best way to accomplish this is by knowing how to speak your mind. The first step in speaking your mind properly is to monitor your tone of voice. Even if someone is doing something that angers you, you will want to tell them this is in a calm manner.
Your tone of voice communicates a lot, and if it conveys anger or similar emotions, it will hurt others or push them away. Your goal should be to maintain a calm demeanor and tone of voice at all times. The second step in effectively speaking your mind is to pay attention to the words you use.
It is always a bad idea to speak your mind without taking the time “to think before you speak.” Remember, once the words come out of your mouth, there is no way to put them back in. If you say something which hurts someone, you may try to repair the damage by apologizing, but depending on the circumstances, the damage may be done.
Therefore, the best way to speak your mind effectively is to think carefully about what you say. You can become a master of getting your point across to others without being rude in the process.
Many people are not assertive because they are too aggressive. They are quick to insult others, and some even resort to using foul/bad language in order to make sure they get their point across. This behavior will almost always drive people away.
Many a times, when you are blatantly rude when speaking your mind, your words will simply “go in one ear and come out the other.” While people will hear you, they will not listen with attention, or if they do, they will only hear the negative things that you said.
A Critical Skill
The ability to speak your mind properly is a critical skill that should never be taken for granted. In this world, there will be times when you will need to get your point across, and depending on the field you work in, this could be daily.
By thinking about the things you say before you say it, you will save yourself a lot of headaches, and you will often be able to maintain relationships which would otherwise be lost. It is also important to make sure you avoid “not saying anything,” as this will only cause feelings to build up inside you.
Adopting these two facets of Mark Twains life and personality have been a great help for me personally and professionally. Try it and you will see the difference yourself.
If you already have the “Mark Twain” approach then by all means, please share your experiences here. It would help those who haven’t already taken to this approach.
About The Author: Zeenat writes the blog Positive Provocations. Her goal in life is “to ease human suffering in whatever way I possibly can.” Enough said.
And if you’re looking for more genius or author-related wisdom, you might enjoy this page on Albert Einstein quotes.
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