No. 1288



Did you know that there is one thing we cannot hide, except by silence? Care to guess what it is? Well, it’s the use of our language, and how we use it goes a long way in determining our success or failure in this old world.
Yes, when we open our mouth and begin to speak we proclaim to the world where we are on the social and economic pyramid. It has been proven countless times that a person’s vocabulary is one of the key factors that determine our standing in the world. It is just a simple fact that those with the best and largest vocabularies achieve a higher level of leadership and organizational responsibility. Of course, this translates into earning more money.
While I never put any person down because we are all valuable in God’s eyes, there is one personal habit that is costing millions, perhaps billions, of dollars -- and that is the use of profanity. I have observed that the biggest offenders of profanity are those with a lower level of education. Back when I was a young man just starting in a sales job, I used to use some profanity, namely because my father used profanity and I picked it up in my former work environment. When I went into sales I began to realize what it was costing me, and I made the decision to stop using it. As you may know, habits are hard to break, and it took me about 6 months to stop completely. Back then when I used a profane word, I would say, “Forgive me Lord,” and I was finally able to put it behind me. I am pleased to report that today I never use profanity.
There are several reasons why people use profanity, and it is a very expensive habit. As already mentioned, the majority of people use it out of habit. When we are around people every day in our home or work environment, we pick it up and don’t even know we are doing it. Another reason some people use profanity is because of low self-esteem, especially in their peer group. Some use it because they think it makes them appear tougher, stronger and a part of the “in” crowd. Also, some kids use profanity because they think it makes them appear “cool” to talk like adults. Who can blame them after years of gutter language on television, on radio and in much of the music to which they listen? And finally, many people use profanity because they have a very limited vocabulary.
To be sure, a person with “class” never used profanity. He or she knows who they are and know that it is not necessary to try to impress others with a foul mouth. Here it might be well to consider how many jobs, sales, raises, promotions and speakers are never invited back because of just one four-letter word. In my business I love a good, clean joke. This is to say one that is not suggestive, does not put some person or group down because of race, class or creed, and in general does not harm others in any way. Many of the jokes I run across do not meet this criteria, but they can often be cleaned up. As a result they can be in good taste and be helpful in a number of ways.
Here is a good example. One time an old boy from Texas went to England to visit some of his relatives. When he settled in, they took him fox hunting. After the hunt was over one of his relatives said, “Cousin Slim, over here our customs are a little different. When the dogs are released and a fox is spotted we say, ‘tallyho-o-o-o, the fox’. We don’t say ‘HEAD THAT RED SON OF A GUN’.” As you can tell, the language was cleaned up just a little. It is always unnecessary to use profanity.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)