What does meaning mean to us?

We humans are a social animal. The structure of our needs has been shown by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… from Biological up to Security, to Belonging, to Recognition, and finally of Self-Actualization.

Each one of these needs beyond the first two, from Belonging upwards, depends a lot on the meaning we build as our own from our community(ies), the recognition (appreciation) we gather, and the new (personal/original) meaning we are able to convey (add) to our community (the world we understand). What does meaning mean to us?

The book, “The Three Laws of Performance” makes the point so emphatically – “How things occur to us depends on the language we use”. What does this mean? Does language lead to meaning, or is it the other way around? Is its meaning important for us? And therefore to us?

Of course, language is a natural form of communication, and as such there will be varying degrees of ‘language’ used by different people, all of which we need to be accommodated in our understanding. That notwithstanding, does the widespread adoption of a wide vocabulary, clear, consistent, correct, and precise language have a direct correspondence with the growth and evolution of a community?

This is an invitation to a conversation on the meaning of language, and what it means to us, building from what it means to each one of us. You’re invited to be a part of this conversation right hereClick and post your thoughts and read what others are saying as well.

What does meaning mean to us?

What role does the (correctness of) language mean for all of us?

— O —

What’s In a Name?

Why is a Name important… and why is it’s spelling equally so!

Because you need to find it again…

…And you will later look for (or refer to) it by the name you remember.  You will find the item only if it is tagged and stored in the system with the same name, spelt exactly the way you remember. The ‘system’ will not be able to help you find what you are looking for, if even one character is different.  The system could be another person or a computer file storage system.  And remember, even a blank space is a character for a computer system.

Unclear or uncertain names are the single most common cause for miscommunication between people – resulting in waste of time, conflicts, costly mistakes, and loss of brand value.

Which aspects of a Name make its use elegant and effective?

Brevity Not a mouthful, easy to pinpoint in a jiffy
Ease in spell Phonetic, commonly known spelling, distinct and easy even to tell someone else on the phone
Relevance Relevance to entity and its contents, indicative of meaning, associative, intuitive to search, easy to recall
Uniqueness Makes it possible to identify accurately and precisely, usually forced if used on a computer system
Sort-ability Gives the natural sequence in a list we might hold conceptually, easier to find and analyze
Structure Indicates ontology, hierarchy (and therefore context), sets and subsets

Which name-aspects can be most significant for various kinds of ‘things’?

  • For an email id – Brevity, Ease in spelling, Relevance
  • For a person’s name – Ease in spelling, Uniqueness
  • For a Brand – Relevance,  Uniqueness
  • For a computer file/folder name – Brevity, Relevance, Uniqueness, Sortability, Structure
  • For a Concept – Relevance, Uniqueness
  • … and the list could go on.

 

Names have a purpose.  Use them effectively as you engineer knowledge.

Happy Naming! 🙂

The Law of Sailing… and of Life!

There’s a law of sailing in the high seas.

“When the paths of a big ship and a small ship cross at sea, it is always the smaller, more maneuverable ship that gives way.”

And the same is true of Life!

I read this many years ago.  And as I read it and thought about it, I realized it applied to our relationships, our professions, most everything over time.  But I also realized that giving in doesn’t always mean giving up or losing. It just means that you have to find a different route to where you wanted to reach, maybe at a different time which is more opportune.

It led me to a corollary of the law…

“Also, it is the smaller, more powerful, more aware pilot ship that tugs the big one safely into harbor.”

Sail happy, sail free!