Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If and When

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking past a cubicle and saw this quote written on the whiteboard:

Plant If and When; And Nothing grew.

How true!!!!!

Any decision, commitment, statement, promise reads much better without these two words and the phrase that follows these intelligent words.

Put an 'If phrase' in your statement; then you can clearly say that the probability of the instance is very less.

If possible, I will return the book today. ( Meaning, I am not even attempting!!!!, but I am being nice to keep you informed of the same, hoping you'll take the hint.) If this is not serious enough, try substituting the word 'money' for book.. It should read better....

Put a 'When phrase' in your statement; then you can as well clearly say it wont happen.

When I find time, I'll look at it. ( Meaning, I will not be able to put in the kind of time that your work demands. Just that, this is my way of saying I may or may not be able to do what you are asking..)

Makes me wonder, if this quote was referring to project management. I guess, it suits most walks of life.

The next time we give someone a word, let's be sure not to use 'if' and 'when'. Now that we know what these phrases can mean in commitment and decisions, its better to keep it minimal. I am making a conscious effort starting NOW!!!!!!

4 comments:

Unveiling the Soul said...

so well said! These conditions actually diminish the possibility!

VK said...

True. A commitment which is conditional (if) or deferred (when) is half-hearted.

SG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SG said...

I totally agree with what is said here only I would like to point out that there is also a cultural factor in the background. Asians, in general (I think more so Japanese and Indians) are not genetically trained to say 'no' and hence form polite responses to do the same. Instead of saying, I cannot return your book they prefer saying I will try to return you book today, if possible. On the other hand, if a German says it, you can be sure he/she will try and there is a 50% chance of him/her doing it. He/She is not being polite and is simply stating facts. And from what I've seen, Americans mostly use 'if and when' for sarcasm.

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