How to listen to what you’re saying

A few days ago I mentioned that teachers occasionally find themselves explaining “this example is probably overkill.” For example, when a tourist asks for directions and you give them twenty routes instead of one.

What I didn’t mention was the irony with which one can say something but not really take it to heart.

I’ve found myself doing this when I explain options to a customer: “If X is your problem then we should do Y, but again I don’t know if that applies to you, if it doesn’t then we should do Z.”

These days I listen for these words to slip out of my mouth, or cross my mind. When it happens, I don’t beat myself up, I stop and correct myself, sometimes out-loud. And then I ask, is X your problem?

If you can become aware of the red flags in the things that you routinely say, you can start to catch yourself in the act, and correct course.