Labels! They’re everywhere and, it seems, they’re on everything.
And we need them. They provide us with crucial information, vital to our survival.
Labels tell us which can of soup to buy, what percentage of our daily nutritional needs will be filled by ingesting its contents and a detailed list of all included chemicals, in descending order of the damage that will be inflicted on us by pouring it down our gullets.
Labels guide us in our search for items in a storage room, books in a store and contents in a bottle.
They predict our future by forewarning us of our fate if we continue to light up.
And labels do one other thing.
They establish expectations.
And we expect them to deliver on those expectations.
And, for the most part, they always do.
And so it is with the labels we hang over the necks of our fellow humans.
You know the ones I mean?
We use these to help us better frame our expectations.
And they never disappoint us.
They never let us down.
They are never wrong.
People always live up to the expectations the labels imply.
They prepare us for how to behave in the presence of our labelee.
They tell us what to expect.
They show us precisely what to look for.
And it’s bloody amazing how we always find exactly what we are looking for even if we have to spend a long time looking.
So if the label says “stupid” we will validate its accuracy by instantly recognizing the “stupid” in everything our labelee says or does.
And it’s really funny how that exact same “stupid” behaviour, when delivered by someone else – someone not wearing a “stupid” label – is not stupid at all. In fact it’s quite normal and reasonable.
If the label says “lazy” it will highlight the absurd laziness of the person who works three jobs, and 110 hours per week to support her family.
If the label says “rude” you won’t miss the inherent insincerity and sarcasm in the expression and tone each time that person says please and thank-you.
If the label says “incompetent” that labelee will graphically demonstrate his incompetence each time he cooks a perfect omelette, delivers a brilliant, insightful and accurate report or performs surgery with flawless precision.
And the miraculous thing about labels?
They are the greatest labour saving device ever invented.
We don’t have to do anything to create them.
We just adopt them from someone else who is using them, say “abracadabra” three times and, presto, the label is ours.
And it works perfectly.
The person wearing the jerk label always does jerky things.
The person wearing the idiot label always does idiotic things.
The person wearing the moron label always does moronic things.
The person wearing the a##*&^e label always does a##*&^ey things.
And miracles do happen.
For example if we ever change the label, the person wearing it miraculously changes too.
If you don’t believe me try this simple experiment.
Think of a person on whom you have bestowed a less than favourable label.
Recall the label you have graciously given him/her. Here’s a sample list your label may have been borrowed from.
Remove the label.
Pick a new one. Here’s a sample list your new label may be borrowed from.
Gently replace the old one with this new one.
Watch magic occur.
They will instantly change in their demeanour and behaviour to match the new label you gave them.
They can’t resist, no matter how hard they try.
It works every time.
So be mindful of the incredible power you now have over everyone you meet.
You can mould them into anything you want them to be.
By choosing the label you want them to be.
So exercise wisely your power of choice.
You will never be disappointed.
Till we read again.