The Ghost Is Ready But The Meat Is Rotten

by Ron Haynes

According to IT legend, several years back when computerized translation services were in their infancy, someone tried to translate the phrase “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” into Japanese. It roughly translated as “the ghost is ready but the meat is rotten.” As funny as this sounds, it highlights the importance of precision and clarity in our communications.

Our world revolves around communication

Think about how often we communicate throughout the day. We communicate with family members, the mail lady, the nutcases on the highway, the receptionist, co-workers, our boss, our boss’s boss, subordinates, peers, our financial advisor, the baby sitter, bankers, neighbors, bloggers, the clerk at the grocery store, and the list goes on and on. We flow naturally from one conversation to another without giving much thought to it. We’ve done it all our lives.

As a baby, we learned that crying brought mommy or daddy to meet our needs. Later, we learned that communicating with our parents got us the car keys and maybe even a few dollars for gas. Effective communications helped us form bonds with peers and friends.

When we communicate our goals for retirement to a financial advisor, clarity and precision must rule the day. When we communicate how we want to budget our money with our spouse, it is vitally important that we focus on the specifics. When we clearly communicate our desires and goals, we have a much better chance of hitting them.

Communicate clearly – even with yourself!

What makes communication effective?

  • It’s real.It comes from the heart.
  • It’s honest and truthful. Any agendas are known and communicated.
  • It’s timely. Effective communication is as much about timing as anything else.
  • It’s simple to understand.
  • It’s willing to listen as much as talk.
  • It’s precise and specific. Vagaries aren’t part of effective communication.

When it comes to communication, we all want to hear and be heard but too often we approach it with a touch of laziness. In other words, the spirit really IS willing, but the flesh is weak!

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.