Not all of us have the write stuff…
“I COULD write a book about that experience.”
I am sure you or others you know have used this phrase to explain an event in their lives.
I find the phrase unfortunate. For one thing, it makes commonplace of the talents that come with writing a book.
Let’s face it, some people we went to school with could not write a coherent composition on a topic such as a “A journey by bus”.
Now they think they can write a book about a complex issue such as how their children have managed the metamorphosis from being an obedient child to being a rebellious teenager.
Despite this, I have sympathy for people who use the phrase, at least as a figure of speech.
Ours is a generation that seems to believe that anybody can do anything.
I wish I could blame it on the internet with its unending supply of “how to” articles. There is virtually nothing you would not find how to do from the internet.
I mean anything from how to perform a love act to constructing a bomb, not that I am giving you ideas.
All this brings me to a permanent gripe.
Parents, life partners, managers and everyone else expects that people would naturally know how to do certain things.
If you are a man, it is somehow expected that you would know how to fix household electrical appliances.
Women are assumed to be able to cook for no other reason than they are women.
In the workplace, many are assumed to be able to carry out their duties, no matter the changes from the original brief, just because they work there.
In a fast-changing world, continuous learning must be the only constant.
None of us can operate on the assumption that our sex or previous experience is enough to carry us through the changes we face.
Not even gravediggers – in my book a contender for the oldest profession – can operate like they did 100 years ago.
Yes, people still die but technology allows for a different way of digging graves.
The point is simply that anyone who will not invest in their own training or those they hope to make profits out of their skill, face disappointment sooner than later, sometimes of a very expensive nature.
Assumptions usually are costly.
So if we are to use phrases such as “I could write a book” or “even my two-year-old can paint that (referring to a Picasso abstract), please take a moment to listen to yourself.
At best accept that it is a figure of speech or at worst, an egregious exercise in arrogance. And stop placing your two-year-old under such immense pressure as to create timeless pieces of art before he even learns to speak.
If you insist that everybody can do everything, at least give them access to some training to back your assumptions and hopes.
Of course, some will not stay long enough (in the personal relationship and the workplace) to make the investment worthwhile.
I am reminded of a much-used management quote: “What if we train them and they leave?” the big boss asked.
“What if we don’t and they stay?” the manager responded.