In the acting world, there is a saying often used by acting coaches while reviewing actors’ performances. They simply say, “less is more”. At first, it didn’t make any sense. How can less be more? Then, I saw a video explaining this concept (thank YouTube!). It’s a sentence designed to stop people from overacting. It was created to quietly dissuade them from that propensity. If you overact, the performance loses the nuance it so desperately needs. Showing everything isn’t the right course to take in acting. Moreover, if you overact, the audience will see it and the performance will not be believable. For a performance to be believable, nuance is often needed so, less is more.
Yet, in the communication world, less isn’t more. Less cannot possibly be more. Better is better! Communicating better is vastly better than communicating more. Quality is better than quantity. We are always texting and talking to someone these days thanks to the constant and never-ending connectivity, but something tells me we are not communicating better. Talking to someone doesn’t mean we are talking about worthy things. Just go to a WhatsApp group right now and you might see what I am talking about. I am not saying we can’t or shouldn’t joke with our friends and family. We must joke and have fun. However, I am not sure we are necessarily communicating better because we communicate more.
So, I wonder…Are we really saying what we mean and how we feel or are we hiding and pretending? Do we mean what we say and say what we mean? Are we talking or deflecting? Are we avoiding issues or facing them head on? Can we speak truly to others and especially to ourselves? Are we able to be vulnerable? Are we lying to others and especially to ourselves? Can we accept to be truthful even if it hurts us or others? Are we brushing things off to make sure they don’t matter when we know they do? So many questions, not enough answers.
This whole thing came from a discussion I had with my better half. She proved to me, in an uncontested and beautiful way, how much my communication skills need immediate improvement. The woman almost brought a PowerPoint presentation to prove her case. She didn’t need one, it was a slam dunk! Of course, I got defensive and shut my brain for a moment but when the evidence is overwhelming, then one needs to accept facts. I am not saying all this to gain favor with her or to look like a guy who is humble and ready to learn from his mistakes! Nah, fuck that! I am just saying that, I, the writer, the man who writes daily and constantly, the man who can explain almost any concept, need to do better with my communication skills. That floored me and it made me look at the man in the mirror to quote Michael Jackson. Life has a way of humbling everyone and sometimes, it is our turn, and recently, it was my goddamn turn.
I had to review my way of communicating which is not easy. Some things are natural to me because I talk all the time. Sometimes, I am impulsive and that always gets me in trouble. Now I know I need to recalibrate my brain and change certain of my ways. It’s fucking hard but I understand I need to improve on it, to make myself better and my relationship better than it was yesterday. Herculean task but doable.
All this time, I really believed because I was a good writer, I was also a good communicator and to a certain extent, that is true. I know I am a good communicator, but my lady showed me ways to improve. Obviously, writing texts and communicating with the person you love the most and you share your life with, those are two distinct actions. Communication in relationships are harder for many reasons. One of the reasons is that it involves deep feelings and feelings aren’t rational. Feelings aren’t necessarily predictable either.
I was lucky. My lady communicated to me what I am doing wrong. She pinpointed what I was doing wrong, surgically I must admit. Furthermore, she offered ways to improve my communication skills. She offered solutions, she didn’t just stand there and criticize me or attempt to make me feel bad or to step on my insecurities. Yeah, she is awesome like that! Moreover, if I learn to communicate better, both our lives get easier and hopefully, we will understand each other better. If I also reach another level of communication, it can surely help me in my everyday life just as much, and even in my writing career.
I must do better. As time goes by, I realized one crucial thing: Communication is not a destination; it is a voyage, a long and tedious one, filled with traps, failures, fuck ups but hopefully, I will learn more as I go along. Communication is an art and, art must be perfected constantly. Communicating better is definitely better than communicating more.
I would just like to point something out…If one can communicate more and better, well, they just hit the jackpot! Combining better and more is the holy grail of communication I would say. I already talk a lot; so, I figure I just need to communicate better.
This life is full of lessons, that is certain.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!