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The Case for Not Swearing

By Amanda Sides on Jun 11, 2016

If you follow Gary Vaynerchuk, you know he's got a lot of sound advice for entrepreneurs. You might have also picked up on the fact that he swears. Quite a lot.

In fact, in this post from 2014, he wrote:

"...I use the f-bomb to vet people. I react to the way you react. Here’s the deal: If you’re a person who gets thrown off by my use of bad language in a keynote, it becomes clear to me that you’re not looking at the big picture. At that point you’re not judging me half as much as I’m judging you. If you’re incapable of getting over my words and seeing the bigger picture I’m trying to communicate, then you’re just not someone I want to do business with. You’re operating on a micro level, and that’s just not somewhere I want to play…"

And I can't say he's wrong about that. We all get to choose how we react to certain situations, and reacting with anger or indignation over a word choice might not be the best use of our energy. For me, his swearing doesn't detract from the value he offers.

That said, I'll keep my f-bombs to myself and my close friends.

The English language is rich with opportunities for accurate expression. Building a strong vocabulary is interesting, and it allows us to share our opinions more precisely. When you have a word like the f-word, often used without thinking or for sheer shock value, a word that can be applied as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, there's just not a lot of richness there.

It works for Vaynerchuk. It fits with his personality. But the absence of swearing isn't notable the way the presence of swearing is. Choosing to swear, especially if it's not something that comes naturally for you, will make people notice. Most likely, no one will notice that you don't swear, at least not for a long time, and they are free to focus on your message.

To each their own, but for me, aside from those moments when I drop a vase on my toes, I'll choose from among the other millions of ways to express myself in my professional life.

 

Do you tend to swear in your professional life? Is it a habit you're trying to break or just a natural part of your speech?

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