Counterclockwise

Counterclockwise: (adj) in a direction opposite to that of the normal rotation of the hands of a clock

At the risk of admitting that I am the Duke of Doofus, I will tell you that if someone asks me to do something “counterclockwise,” I must stop, close my eyes, see a clock in my mind and reverse my path.

It’s one of those directions you often see on paper or hear given by an instructor which seems to be no problem whatsoever to some folks—and leaves me funny wisdom on words that begin with a Creeling.

I have the same sensation when I’m told to go east or west, north or south. If the sun is obviously in its morning or late afternoon position, I can occasionally pull it off but if it has snuck over my head, I am lost.

It reminds me of the time I was in the hospital, had just returned to my room after an operation and needed to go to the bathroom. I was supposed to keep my weight off my left leg, so I asked the nurse how I would be able to travel to the bathroom without injuring myself.

Her response was, “Can you hop?”

I froze.

I had not hopped since I was a small child and felt pretty certain that I would never be ‘hoppy’ again—or that if I tried, it would be a very “un-hoppy” ending.

Please forgive me for this. If you must have a laugh at my expense, just place it on my account. We will need such a running tab, for there will be more to come.


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Aplomb

dictionary with letter A

Aplomb (n.) calm self-confidence.

When I was growing up there was a game called “Pick-Up Sticks,” where everything was thrown down in a pile, and I had the job of picking up the sticks from the pile without disturbing the other sticks around it.

It was nerve-wracking–very similar, matter of fact, to the game Operation, in which you had a pair of tweezers to remove a plastic body part without getting buzzed by touching the sides.

That’s why I find it difficult to justify the word “calm” and the idea of “self-confidence” being linked together.

Because I will tell you, self-confidence is a house of cards.

Those who truly believe they are full of it … well, are usually full of it. They are trapped in a misconception that what they bring to the table is sufficient without any addition and certainly without correction. It is a dangerous profile which robs you of your calm because humanity is very willing to remind you of your lack and remove all praise in the process.

Actually, I think the best way to become jaded is to insist on a profile of self-confidence. You will quickly find that a situation comes up beyond your scope and requires some adjustment–and if you don’t, you end up looking foolish, or worse, rationalizing your lame efforts.

If I were defining the word “aplomb,” I would say it’s a “calm use of true humility.”

Humility is much better than self-confidence simply because humility demands that you show up with some stats and facts, otherwise you’re not being humble–just unrealistic. And also, humility opens the door to the realization that since you had to learn what you’ve done so far, the possibility for additional learning is likely.

I meet many people who would insist that they’re self-confident. Matter of fact, they wear it as a badge of honor, unaware that it is actually a cloak of deception, leaving all parties who don the masquerade eventually looking over-dressed.

The reason I am calm is not because i believe I am sufficient. I find peace in my soul because I realize that the same humility which allowed me to do some great things will prepare me to gain the wisdom to do more.

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