Nov 19

The disappearance of “i”

Illuminated computuer keyboard

I noticed the “i” on my keyboard mysteriously started malfunctioning last week.

I had been looking away as I typed, only to dscover a pecular amount of msspelled words lnng the page n red.

How odd, right? I suspect nargles are behind it. (Sorry, Harry Potter nerd here.) Or as we often say in the office when we experience technology flukes, perhaps it was a solar flare.

Regardless of the cause of the issue, it astounded me just how many “I”s there are in any given sentence. I was relieved when I could get through typing several words without having to battle with the key to get the letter to pop up on my screen.

As you can imagine, this became irritating rather quickly, not to mention time consuming. Trying to find the silver lining, I thought 1) what can I do about this and 2) what can I learn from this. After looking into how I could get the keyboard examined by an expert, it dawned on me that taking “I” out from my vocabulary is challenging.

I say “I” a lot. What does that say about me?

What would happen if I couldn’t use I anymore? What an interesting exercise that would be! I decided to look up the idea on Google. As it turns out, I’m not the only one with this thought about “I statements.”

Some of the results: “How to stop saying ‘I’m sorry’ all the time” “Why I stopped saying ‘I know’” “Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’” and so on…

One person even chose to stop saying “I” for an entire week. That individual hoped it would make him rethink how he connected with people, focusing more on others and less on himself.

I kind of love that.

Here I go with the “I”s again… I want to know: If we all made a conscious effort to limit the use of “I” in our day-to-day interactions — as in “I think,” “I feel,” “I want” — what do you think would be the outcome(s)?

Would we do better at showing interest in what others have to say? How empowering would it be to lift others up by first giving them the opportunity to share their ideas, rather than leading with I? Would it help us become conversation facilitators? Probably! There’s a good chance we’ll ask more questions, perhaps even make stronger connections with those around us.

  • What if instead of, “I’m concerned about this,” you first offered, “How do you feel about this?”
  • Instead of, “I think we should go for it,” maybe, “What do you think about this opportunity?”
  • “I fixed it” v. “Problem solved. What’s next?”

It might be impossible to eliminate all the “I”s from how we speak, think and type, but let’s encourage one another to be more thoughtful in our day-to-day communications. It’s amazing how we can be more inclusive by rethinking inherent responses.

And in case you may be wondering, by the time I finished writing this blog post, the key inexplicably started functioning normally again! While I’m relieved it’s working once again, I’m thankful for how the malfunction rippled into a shift in thinking.

Also, there were at least 190 “I”s in this blog post. Clearly, I need more work on this. 🙂


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