“Interesting” Can Be Your Go-To Word During Tough Times

Dr. Keith Ablow

“Interesting” Can Be Your Go-To Word During Tough Times

April 1, 2022

When clouds gather and life seems uncertain, there are lots of words that might come to mind, including, “Oh, no,” or “Oh, my God,” or “This can’t be happening.”  Left to its own devices, the mind wanders and can settle on alarmist language that creates more negative energy—in the form of anxiety, for instance—that adds to the unwelcome events that are unfolding.

I’d like to arm you with a more useful word—interestingInteresting is an ideal word with which to greet a lot of the trouble that appears at your door or in your mail or at meetings of your company or anywhere else, for that matter.  

Why?  Well, for one thing, interesting primes the mind to analyze, rather than panic.  

Think, for instance, that you are told that your competitor has filed suit against your company alleging patent infringement.  If you have the word interesting ready to deploy, you might begin thinking about what the claims actually are, might remind yourself that lots of frivolous lawsuits get filed, might wonder whether a countersuit could actually advance your company’s prospects.  You might also open your mind to wonder whether your competitor has become desperate to find a way to stay afloat or whether there’s an opportunity in all of the seeming conflict to actually end up joining forces with the plaintiff to address the market for the products you both sell.

Interesting is the antidote to becoming paralyzed by fear.  It is part of the diagnostician’s demeanor—preparing to get to the bottom of things, which requires engaging with them, not running from them.  

Interesting not only prepares the mind to analyze and explore, it messages the warrior inside you that you have time to think through options.  You aren’t going to be chased into a corner.  You aren’t going to give up your right to rational thought.  Invoking interesting at the leading edge of a fight should make your opponent run for the hills.  You’re strategizing, not scared.  

Interesting also is inherently suited to the twists and turns of life.  It is, indeed, sad when a relationship of many years ends (and feeling the sadness is important), but it is also interesting.  Interesting brings you into the community of Man.  It’s a nod to the human condition.  Yes, it is disappointing when someone doesn’t stand with you in times of trouble, but it is also interestingInteresting unlocks the pondering mind:  Was my friend who failed to stand by me always relying on me to be the strong one?  Do I always choose friends who look to me for strength?  How rare is it, really, for people to take big risks for other people?  Who else in my life has come through for me, and who hasn’t.

Moreover, interesting, is a great word for leaders.  When you let it take the helm, it tells the whole team that you are engaged in a problem, but unbowed by it.  You’re thinking, not panicking.  And they needn’t, either.

Interesting.  It’s a pretty good word to have up your sleeve in this interesting world, during these interesting times.

Dr. Keith Ablow

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