Writing is power and sometimes a powerful piece can change one’s perspective. At some stage or other in our professional lives, all of us must have attended leadership talks or programmes or review meetings with bosses, where we are exhorted to act and inspired through pep talk. It is indeed true that what looks very impressive initially does tend to taper off as less effective or theoretical or even rhetorical in due course, but to call it banal and cliche needs some serious pen power. As the writer says, at a recent party, she minced no words in telling a cliche spouter, “ You are the most obnoxious, self-centred, predictable, cliche spouting bore I have ever met in my life.” Of course, she hurried on to add that the above she only said in her mind and not on the face of the mentioned person to whom she instead showed her pretty face with a vapid smile as he went on and on with “mind- numbing cliches”.
What are these self-centred, mind-numbing cliches that the author is referring to? These are actually common idiomatic phrases that can adorn one’s expression in writing but sound cliched and boring when mouthed by a self styled leader in the context of establishing his or her supremacy or dominance. We all must have heard, “ Instead of crying over spilt milk, I am on boarding movers and shakers in my company , capable of delivering results” or “ I need someone who thinks out of box” or “ Let’s get to the low hanging fruits” or “ Come dressed to kill at the office party and let your hair down.”
I am sure that to most of the readers the above expressions would be no strangers, having come across them and many more at various stages of our professional lives. But, as mentioned above, while many of us might have felt sceptical about these exhortations or transmission of Jnana ( Gyana), calling these expressions or phrases cliches is certainly a new perspective. I think the author of this piece weaves sarcasm around the hollowness of the spouters of these expressions! In today’s cut throat competition in professional lives and fast changing skills, the scope of lasting relationship between an employer and employee or a boss and subordinate is rather limited and waning. When these are mouthed sans the sincerity or deep rooted welfare of the audience, instead of making impression, they sound cliched. On the contrary, our parental advice or the advice by our teachers, friends and well wishers come from the bottom of the heart with genuine concern for our betterment and success. Therefore, such advices and exhortations stay with us throughout, without ever becoming dated or redundant.
For a moment I do not mean that we should ignore everything new as cliche ridden and only hold on to age old wisdom endowed by our parents and gurus. We all need to be adaptive, open to re-skilling, working hard like no tomorrow and constantly evolving. And listen to the bores and braggarts with a vapid smile like the author, picking up whatever sounds reasonable and ignoring the cliche!