The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Looking at a dictionary the word grandiosity links with the idea of “bombastic or inflated style or manner” as well as with “excessive use of verbal ornamentation”.

Wikipedia will go further and describe an “unrealistic sense of superiority” as well as “a sustained view of oneself as better than others”.

These notions describe what I would call a common understanding of “grandiosity”. Such an understanding regularly makes it difficult to understand a slightly nuanced concept which uses the same name.

It’s the same for any word which is being used in a specific context and gains meaning within this context. Take for example marketing. In most cases, people will connect marketing with the idea of getting the word out and miss the other layers associated with marketing. If that’s not the issue, it’s still possible to miss out on the philosophy the person connects marketing with.

To understand others, our work is to search for meaning. It involves connecting what someone is explaining with the context in which the person is using it. That is that person’s worldview and possibly the model the person is teaching. Otherwise, we can’t learn or understand what the person is explaining.

And grandiosity?

Transactional analysis uses the word grandiosity to describe an exaggeration of some feature or reality, by either maximizing or minimizing it. When they do so, people use grandiosity to justify the way they discount reality. Here, discounting reality refers to how people (unwarily) ignore information relevant to the solution of a problem.

The reason this idea is interesting is, that when we listen to the way people describe situations or the work they do, we can find this “grandiosity” in the way they talk or write. This can give us at least two information. The first one being that people might miss and ignore information. The second one is that it helps us see when these people might not be taken seriously.

Words indicating grandiosity can be never, always, naturally, absolutely, all or evident. Take for example a sentence “my clients never complain”, “Our clients’ interests always come first” or “We stress teamwork in everything we do”.

Beware of your business principles, they can make it easy for people to disagree with you.


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