“The most important in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker
Every baseball season, I watch a series of conversations go on that require no words.
The first exists when a pitcher throws a borderline pitch and the umpire calls it a ball. His head drops, the catcher holds it there a bit longer, the coach throws his hands up, the center fielder begins to run off the field thinking it is the third out.
The second occurs when a runner is moving down the line on a ground ball, reaches the bag seemingly at the exact same time as the ball, and is called out. He instantly jumps in the air throwing his arms up in disbelief and puts his hands on his head. The first base coach usually throws his hands up and turns around squatting down visibly frustrated by what he saw. Then, the head coach usually pops out of the dugout or even his third base coaches box and begins his jog toward the umpire, who has immediately turned his back and begun to return to his position.
The final one that I will mention is the opposite of the first. The hitter takes a borderline pitch. He flips his bat toward the dugout and starts down to first base with his walk. However, the umpire calls it a strike. The hitter is now in disbelief and begins to shake his head. The coaches have shaken their head or turned their backs mumbling under their breath. The pitcher and catcher are visibly upset because they haven’t gotten those calls. Now, every pitch becomes a silent attack of disapproval–shaken heads, stern glares, exasperated tossing up of the hands–until the result of his at-bat plays out.
Body language is a part of everything we do. Sometimes it gives us the true reflection of how someone is really thinking. It is why we are able to ask the question “Is everything ok?” or “Why are you so happy?”
Every day, we tell a story with our eyes, our gestures, and our expressions. They tell of the happy moments, the frustrated moments, and the moments of shock and awe.
The scenarios that I described at the outset are expressions of negative body language. They are accompanied with feelings of anger, frustration, bitterness, resentment, and disbelief. When we allow those negative emotions to become what we express, those feelings often overwhelm us, distract us, and derail our performance.
Wouldn’t we be better served to work on expressing ourselves in positive emotions and expressions (positive body language)?
Think about the days where you feel amazing. Think about the days where you have played your best games, been the most productive at work, or just had the most fun. What were your emotions and expressions?
When I think of these moments, I think of smiles, laughs, peace, calmness, determination, love, happiness, cooperation, loyalty, respect, fun, among many others. Our happiness/mood is intrinsically linked to how we feel.
Feeling sad? Try a smile.
A little down in the dumps? Put on your favorite playlist and dance along.
Woke up on wrong side of bed? Let’s go grab your favorite breakfast or go ask someone you love for a hug.
It is no coincidence that the more negative body language we put out there, the more we allow those negative emotions to permeate within us.
It could be unreasonable to ask any of us to be a happy-go-lucky positive chipper person all of the time. We are going to experience some bad times and we will likely have some negative emotion. The important thing is that we recognize those emotions and how we handle them once we do.
My challenge to you as you move through your week is this:
Be aware of the emotions you are putting out there. It does not just affect those around you who have to experience them, but it affects you as well if you let them build up within you. When you recognize a bad one, take a few moments to process it, learn from it, then flush it and immediately replace it with a positive one. I get that you may not feel like doing this, but it is the easiest way to start feeling better and lift your mood. Find something funny, force a smile, force a laugh, or just dance it away.
Every day and every place we go, we are telling stories without using words. Do your best to make sure those stories leave yourself and others with happy endings.
Bring your best today!