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Oct 24, 2017

Triggered Lunatics or Savvy Communicators?

Are you letting your reactiveness get the better of you?

I am impatiently punching buttons on my mobile phone. Siri, as always, does not understand my accent…

My blood pressure is rising. I know it’s crazy… It’s just a machine, but I am ready to throw it against the wall and have it shatter into thousands of pieces… I can’t believe it! I’m so upset, but I can’t give up now. I try it one more time. I now talk real, real slow to Siri, but it has already stopped. I keep hitting the Siri button…

I cannot have a dumb little machine get the best of me. Between clenched teeth, I am whispering obscenities that should never be said out loud. With a huge bang, I drop the stupid phone and say, “What a terrible piece of junk!” I stomp out of the room and slam the door!

For the next hour, I am so triggered that I cannot do any work. Actually, all I do is sit and stew… I feel like a bull with steam coming out of my nose! Grrr…

After a moment, I take a deep breath. It’s only a machine… I definitely did not watch my delivery! On the contrary, in the privacy of my office, I said things to this little machine that were unfiltered, uncensored, and totally unacceptable!


Has this ever happened to you? Of course it has! We all operate technology every day that does not always do what we ask it to, but the truth is it’s not only with technology, we face this everywhere.

At the office, at home, in transit, at a restaurant, while shopping, literally everywhere…

Watch your delivery? Do you? Right now, ask yourself…

Do I shout?

Do I blame?

Do I think I am right?

Yes to all the above.

On most any given day, our reaction is: I am right; you are wrong. Deal with it!

If there is anything we have just learned about this example of delivery, it is:

a)      That how I behaved is quite common…

b)      And that afterwards it made us laugh…

We are not the succinct and eloquent communicators that we think we are…

A snippy tone, a bad choice of words, and my bored body language actually create havoc and hinder my message. So how do we get our point across?

Right now, I can hear you. You are thinking: Do I need to change? Is that what you are implying? Are you nuts? Me change? Scary word! Did you just say “change”? Ugh! No, no, oh please no! People don’t change.

We are who we are! It is what it is!

But we, “humanity,” are not doomed. We are merely learning with beautiful courageous baby steps to “BE the difference” in others’ lives and in our own.

Yes, all of us are like the lunatic I described who wants to throw the techno gadgets out the window when they do not cooperate in doing what we want!

All I am asking is that you read a few pages more to see how amazing and powerful we are when we take that one moment to stop for that one person and BE the difference—not by reacting, not by getting triggered, but by simply rephrasing our words, by using a kind tone, and by showing with our body language that we are actually really here—fully alert, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Only then have we watched our delivery!

Now, that sounds great, but how the heck do we accomplish this in our everyday lives?

(Book excerpt from Watch Your Delivery. Follow the blog for more communication tips!)



Gabriella van Rij [pronounced “Ray”] began her life as an orphan in Pakistan and without the determination and kindness of two strangers she would not have been adopted into her new family. Today, Gabriella relentlessly champions the Kindness movement and tackles the social issues that plague our society. With a brave and compassionate voice, she speaks at businesses, universities, corporate training events, school assemblies, community centers, places of worship, and on network shows. Her uplifting talks motivate, challenge, and provide the groundwork for lasting progress. She is an acclaimed author of three books. With All My Might is her mesmerizing memoir of one of the first cross-cultural adoptions. I Can Find My Might is part self-help, part practical resource for students, parents, and educators. Gabriella’s personal experience creates a boots-on-the-ground approach to bullying and self-acceptance that is nothing short of magical. Watch Your Delivery is Gabriella’s third and latest book on secrets to effective communication. Gabriella has been seen by millions on Dr. Phil, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. She also writes for the Huffington Post and the NY Daily News.


[1] Siri is Apple’s personal assistant that uses voice-recognition software to perform tasks.