My Bad

I’m guessing that many of you read the above title and thought this was going to be a post about my loathing for the slacker set’s faux apologetic phrase, “My bad.”

Although I do, indeed, despise that phrase, this post is about something quite different: an over-investment in labeling some innocent bit of your body that happens to be in a state of transition as “bad”: i.e. my “bad back”, my “bad knee”, my ‘bad shoulder,” etc.

Why do I say over-investment? Because I’ve noticed that people really seem to enjoy digging in and having an in-depth jibber-jabber about a fairly innocuous malfunction– frequently treating the limb, digit or ligament in question like the beloved runt of the litter. You know, the one that gets special feeding and airing, the one that gets petted and coddled….

Oh, and talked about. Incessantly.

But, as Richard Bach said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”  In other words, the more you label something “bad” the more you will become attached to that designation, and the more (I promise you) your body will perform accordingly.

How would I ask you to describe these various parts of you instead? Well, my trainer has been trained by me to refer to my left knee and my “exciting” knee. If that feels a bit too upbeat to you, you—so luckily!–  have a left knee and a right knee (not to mention a left shoulder and a right shoulder) so you could refer to them that way. With regard to your back, you might just call it your back.

Insanity! Heresy! I know…but you might just try it.

Why? Because your body is a great training ground for the rest of your life—and labeling something “bad” ends no less poorly outside the realm of your body parts. Tell a child he’s a “bad kid” often enough and it’s likely you’ll end up rocking a lot of parent –teacher conferences. Attach a “crisis” or “problem’ label to a situation and, I promise you, everyone’s mental processes get a cramp.

In other words, labeling something “bad” is—as the slacker set would note—your bad.

And you owe yourself an apology.

Frances Cole Jones is the President of Cole Media Management and author of How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in any Situation and The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World. Attention Job Seekers: Frances has also created an app for the iPhone and iPad called “Interview Survival Kit.” For more information visit Apple’s iTunes.