Scandinavian Logic

We’ve just come back from a trip to Stockholm, Sweden.

While there, we coined a new term: Scandinavian logic.

It describes situations where a certain amount of information is given but not enough to be really useful.

Example: The parking at the hotel.

The lady at reception indicated that it was in a red building across the road, that the name of the hotel was marked and then she gave us a code to enter the car park.

We drive across the road.

It is dark, so all colours are relative.

There’s a brick building that seems to be a car park but no mention of the hotel.

We drive around for a bit and eventually come back to the building.

We enter the code in the command box which is accessible from the car.

Nothing happens.

I get out of the car and approach a man working on a lorry nearby. He informs us that there is another command box.

In fact, we discover that there are three in all. For two of them, including the hotel one, you have to get out of the car to punch the code in.

The name of the hotel was taped onto the command box, but not visible anywhere else outside.

A number of similar things happened to us during our stay, hence our coming up with the term.

The problem seems to be an incapacity to put one’s self in another person’s shoes.

People seem increasingly unable to think about anyone else but themselves.

And it’s not because everyone spends a huge portion of their day hunched over a mobile phone that communication is improving.

The opposite is true.

Communication is getting poorer and poorer with every new means of communication that we invent.

It’s important to reverse this trend.

Do not make assumptions.

The situation is not necessarily clear to the other person.

What you are saying is not necessarily clear to the other person either, even if it seems clear to you.

Try to imagine the situation from the other person’s point of view.

And try to use simple and succinct language.

In the example above, a few simple words of explanation could have avoided twenty wasted minutes of searching.

What can you do to improve your communication this week?

Have a great week!




About Language

I want to thank everybody for their comments on these pages – and there have been a lot since I revamped the site.  It’s great to have so much feedback and to hear that these posts are useful for you.

But I also wanted to make an appeal:

If you can avoid using a translating programme or plugin, please do.

As you know, computer language is utterly logical – it’s on or off, 1 or 0, yes or no.  Any question must be a closed question, resulting in a positive or a negative reply.  At best,  “If 1, do 0.”  That sort of thing.

Organic languages such as English or French have evolved over thousands of years from various sources and their development has not been dictated by logic alone.  They are the expression of a national or tribal identity and have as much to do with emotions as with logic.

This means that it is extremely difficult for a computer programme to do a good job in translating from one language to another.  The result is that many computer translations are, quite frankly, unintelligible.

So I would like to ask you please wherever possible to try and write your thoughts in English yourself, rather than resorting to your computer to do it for you.  Even if you think your English is lousy and that you’ll never be able to do it.  Just try.

I can almost guarantee that your message will come across more clearly than with an automatic translator.

Many thanks.

As this is more of a personal appeal, I’ll try to get another post up this week with a more satisfying tip for endurance free living.