We have been discussing the difference between playing big and playing small. We generally see more people playing small than playing big. Playing small is the easy way out and it handles a situation on a short-term basis. Playing big takes some dedication and it’s looking the big picture and the long-term results. Sometimes it takes courage to play big and make an impact.
A recent study released by the Center for Applied Linguistics came out with this interesting fact. Nearly two-thirds of all human speech transpires under people’s breath. I found that very interesting. Exceptional leaders don’t mumble under their breath. Researcher Erin Wightman said, “Our data indicates that, whether in the form of hushed grumbles of anger, a half delivered retort, or quiet self-berating, the majority of all spoken language is delivered in barely audible mutters.” She went on to note that a sizable quantity of human vocalizations are imperceptible insults made while walking away from an argument, a meeting with one’s supervisor, or a pleasant conversation with someone the speaker does not care for. Talk about playing small.
Do you or do you know of someone who is constantly peppering in low-volume sarcastic comments when interacting with others? Several people I’ve encountered pop into my mind as I’m writing this. And to be totally honest, I can remember when I have done my fair share of sarcastic comments while playing small. Think about how different your work, family or social environment would be if people spoke up and played big and told you what was bothering them. (What a relief not to have to try and be a mind reader!) But it takes courage to speak up and express yourself and empathize with others. It’s much easier to mutter and grumble while interacting with coworkers or family members.
Take time today to watch for people mumbling and grumbling. You’ll be surprised how many you will see. If you see someone close to you doing this, take time to talk to them and see what they may be experiencing. You can start with a simple question like, “I saw you grumbling just a moment ago, is there something you would like to share?” Then play big and listen with empathy. You may be surprised with what you hear.
Thanks for coming along.