2007-11-04 11:01 PM

“You Say OCD Like It’s a Bad Thing…”

I’m a firm believer in the power of repetition. And I pay special attention to those things that repeat in my life. Today’s topic of multiplicity is OCD.

One exposure was from a forwarded “test” for how obsessive-compulsive one appears. As I scanned the list I was annoyed that being bothered by punctuation errors and typos was on this list of layman OCD indicators. Others included cleaning someone else’s house and “fixing” tilted picture frames.

The other main exposure was an older blog post by Tim Ferris regarding pen flipping. He jokingly says “If you don’t have OCD already, I apologize. This post will give it to you… and you’ll thank me for it.” And I must admit from seeing these tricks done during one of my classes that it is enthralling and distracting whether you’re the teacher or a fellow student.

The lesson (besides the pen tricks) is in the popular use of the term “OCD” versus the formal definition. The DSM has a very specific definition for OCD as befits its clinical use. The common use is much more broad and inclusive, to the point of making the phrase OCD meaningless.

So who is right, the DSM or popular use?
(Neither. Both. It depends. Mu.)

We will explore “mu” as an answer tomorrow. In the meantime begin noticing what words and phrases you use with disregard to correctness.

What arguments could you avoid by being aware of when your words (and pen spinning habits) are having unintended consequences?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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