Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! We are poisons-conscious people. Every restaurant owner is always on guard against food poisoning. Just a couple of cases of it, and his customers won’t come near his restaurant any longer. How I wish we will guard against thought poison the way we guard against food poison.
Thought poison is another kind of poison, although a little more insidious, and it is commonly called “gossip.” Thought poison differs from food poison in two ways. It affects the mind, not the body, and it is more subtle. The person being poisoned usually doesn’t know it.
Thought poison is subtle, but it accomplishes big things. It reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things. It warps and twists our thinking about people because it is based on a distortion of facts, and it creates a guilt feeling in us that shows through when we meet the person we’ve gossiped about. Thought poison is zero percent right thinking: it is one hundred percent wrong thinking.
And contrary to lots of opinion, women have no exclusive franchise on gossip. Every day many men, too, live in a partially poisoned environment. Every day thousands of gossip staged by men take place on such topics as “the boss marital or financial problems,” “John’s politicking to get ahead in business,” “the probability of Tony being transferred,” “the reasons for special favors being given to Tom,” “how Johnson has become so subservient to his wife to the extent of going to the market for her.”
Gossiping goes something like: “Say, I just heard…..no, why…..well, it doesn’t surprise me…..he had it coming to him….of course, this is confidential….” Someone can just look at a successful man and say; “Don’t mind this man, he used his mother for ritual, that’s why he suddenly became very rich.”
His friend will say, “No wonder, how can this man that used to do menial jobs become a multimillionaire overnight? This people are wicked. You mean he killed his mother? This world is turning to something else.”
The person sitting close to them will add, “I even heard that he is about to use his wife for ritual too. I am very sure, because my source can never lie to me.” The next thing you will hear from all of them is, “May my God judge this man. You will suffer the same fate before you die. Foolish man.”
The man they are saying all these against may not have committed any crime or killed anybody, but those men have judged him for what he didn’t do. Personally I don’t know why every wealthy person in our clime is a suspect. If you’re as poor as others, nobody will talk about you, but the moment they see the sign of riches around you, they will conclude that you’re either a thief, a conman, or a ritualist. You will become an object of beer parlor gossip.
Conversation is a big part of our psychological environment. Some conversation is healthy. It encourages you. It makes you feel like you’re taking a walk in the warm sunshine of a spring day. Some conversation makes you feel like a winner.
But other conversation is more like walking through a poisonous, radioactive cloud. It chokes you. It makes you feel ill. It turns you into a loser. It makes you say negative things about people you know very well are not bad people. You say negative things about them because you don’t want the person you’re conversing with to feel bad. It is a thought poison. Avoid it like a plague.
Gossip is just negative conversation about people, and the victim of thought poison begins to think he enjoys it. He seems to get a form of poisoned joy from talking negatively about others, not knowing that to successful people he is becoming increasingly unlikeable, and unreliable.
David J. Schwartz said that, “One gossiper walked into a conversation some friends and I were having about Benjamin Franklin. As soon as Mr. Killjoy learned the topic of our chat, he came through with choice bits about Franklin’s personal life, in a negative way.
Perhaps it’s true that franklin was a character in some way and he might have made the scandal magazines had they been around in the eighteenth century. But the point is, Benjamin Franklin’s personal life had no bearing on the discussion at hand, and I couldn’t help being glad that we weren’t discussing somebody whom we knew intimately.” That’s how people damage the character of innocent people on daily basis.
Should we talk about people? Yes, but stay on the positive side. You must also understand that not all conversation is gossip. If you say what is in the open that someone did for the purpose of learning from his or her mistake, I don’t think it is a gossip. Gossip is talking about someone in a negative way in order to show others how bad the person is. But if you’re talking about a notorious criminal who was sentenced to prison, and how not to become a criminal, you are actually learning from the person’s mistake.
According to David J. Schwartz, you can test your proneness to be a gossiper by taking this test:
1. Do I spread rumors about other people?
2. Do I always have good things to say about others?
3. Do I like to hear reports of a scandal?
4. Do I judge others on the basis of facts?
5. Do I encourage others to bring their rumors to me?
6. Do I keep confidential information confidential?
6. Do I feel guilty about what I say concerning other people?
Dear friend, what did you score? Just be honest with yourself so that you can cure yourself from thought poison that kills your ability to generate ideas. Gossip makes us feel guilty, and when you’re guilty, you block your mind from generating life changing ideas and thoughts. Gossip is a polluter of thought. Fight against it today.
I told somebody one day that, “If you can tell me what someone said about me, you can equally tell the person what I said about him.” Anyone who gossips about others in your presence, will equally tell others what you said about them. So I made up my mind to talk about the good side of people.
Am yet to see one perfect human being on earth. So instead of focusing on your weaknesses, I will focus on your strength. If I have an opportunity to chat with you, and it is conducive enough, I will help you to overcome what I found out. I discovered that if you’re a gossiper, you will always see the weakness of others. But if you’re someone who loves people no matter their weaknesses, you will always see the good side of others.
In conclusion, David J. Schwartz said, “Taking an ax and chopping your neighbor’s furniture to pieces won’t make your furniture look one bit better; and using verbal axes and grenades on another person doesn’t do one thing to make you a better you or a better me.” Using your tongue to tear others into pieces because you’re jealous of their exploits won’t change anything. Celebrate the exploits of others, and look for ways to learn from them. Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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