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8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Just Rely On SpellCheck

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Just Rely On SpellCheck

“She could sew seeds better than she could sew clothes.”

The above sentence is one that I came across while reading a self-published novel the other day, and is a perfect example why one cannot merely rely on a spell-checking program to ensure that one’s writing is error-free. Although “sew” and “sow” are homophones (they sound the same despite having different spellings and meanings), they are obviously not interchangeable: we sow seeds, and sew clothes.

SpellCheck, or any inbuilt spell-checking program, wouldn’t catch that, and anyone proofreading or editing your work would be patently unimpressed to come across it. Although a spell checker is a handy tool for general use, it will never fully take the place of educating yourself properly and polishing your writing skills. Here are 8 solid reasons why you shouldn’t just rely on a program to help you out in daily communications and professional writing:

1. It Won’t Catch Homophonic Errors

As in the example at the top of this page, there are many words that sound the same as others, and if you use them in lieu of the correct words (and spell them correctly), SpellCheck won’t catch them. According to the program, ewe kin rite awl kinds a things and they’ll still go threw. Case in point: SpellCheck didn’t highlight anything in that sentence as incorrect.

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When I have been responsible for sifting through cover letters and resumes for potential job candidates, I discarded any that had blatant spelling errors. If someone can’t discern between “weather” and “whether,” or “could of” and “could have,” I’d worry about their competence in any professional role.

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    2. SpellCheck Won’t Catch Typos That Are Actual Words

    When you write phrases such as, “In miss you,” “I’ll pick the care up from the garage,” or, “We’re having meet for dinner,” SpellCheck doesn’t catch any errors, because none of the words are actually misspelled. The same thing goes for Word and other word-processing software: phrases and words that are spelled properly aren’t picked out as wrong, so you can write something utterly nonsensical merely by adding or subtracting a letter or so, and it’ll still go through as perfectly okay. Ask me how much trouble I once got into by accidentally referring to a Rabbi as a “rabbit” in a work email.

    Additionally, misplaced gaps in sentences will be allowed through: have you ever sent an IM or text only to realize that you’ve hit the space bar too soon (or too late)? Instead of writing, “She meant Rick,” if referring to a friend’s comment about another, you may end up writing, “She mean trick.” That’s quite a different expression, if rather inarticulate.

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    3. You Won’t Learn From Your Mistakes

    As mentioned above, words that are spelled correctly won’t be picked out, and you’ll end up making the same errors over and over again. You might use “adverse” instead of “averse” when implying that someone isn’t fond of an idea, or say that a person was “effected” by a policy, rather than “affected.” If the people you work with don’t know the difference between these words either (or are too hesitant or polite to point out that you spelled something wrong), you’ll continue to use them improperly.

    This could backfire really badly if and when you apply for a position with people who require higher standards of writing proficiency than you’ve been accustomed to.

    4. Hideous Sentences Will Be Allowed Through

    Redundancies, misplaced modifiers, errant quotation marks, and multiple hyphens in lieu of proper dashes won’t be pointed out as wrong, so that article you might be submitting to an editor will leave them gawking in horror at the fact that you’re allowed anywhere near a computer at all. An example:

    “The young was girl was walking the dog in in a short skirt.”

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    Guess what SpellCheck didn’t pick out as wrong?

    5. It Makes You Lazy

    If you’re not constantly aware of the words you’re typing in order to ensure that they’re spelled correctly, you can get sloppy. Sure, anything you type formally should still be amended by the program, but what if you actually have to use a pen and paper to leave a note for someone?

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      6. You Won’t Always Have Access To It

      If you rely heavily on a spell checker to catch your errors, you won’t ameliorate your own writing skills and may end up making rather egregious errors when using a program that doesn’t have one installed. Certain IM programs don’t check your spelling as you type, and many phones don’t have spell-checking software checking your texts before you hit “send.”

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      If you have to send a text to a client or your boss, or you’re in a Skype chat with someone whose opinion of you actually matters, and your spelling skills are on par with your eight-year-old nephew’s, you’re in for it.

      7. It Can Be Wrong

      SpellCheck isn’t necessarily up to date on neologisms, slang terms, or marketing jargon, and can mark certain expressions or words as incorrect when they’re actually just fine as they are.

      8. It Won’t Discern What You Meant To Write From What You Actually Wrote

      Most of us think more quickly than we type, which leads to words being omitted or sentences being mangled. SpellCheck won’t clue in to the fact that you left out several vital words in a paragraph: if they’re not misspelled, it doesn’t care. It’s actually best to take a break from a piece after you’ve written it and then go back to it with fresh eyes, as you’ll put enough distance between yourself and your work to be able to find mistakes and omissions.

      We’ll often choose the wrong word in conversation or writing because it sounds similar to the one we meant, but if you sign off an email “with love and infection,” the recipient might be a bit unnerved. You don’t want that.

      Whether you’re writing an essay, an article, a blog post, or your PhD thesis, it’s important to go through your work thoroughly to ensure that it’s error-free: relying on a program that will only catch typos is sure to land you in trouble. If you do proofread your work, determine that there’s nothing wrong with it, and then find out that there were several errors within it, you might want to read books a bit more often in order to re-familiarize yourself with formal written English.

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      Last Updated on May 28, 2020

      10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

      10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

      Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

      You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

      Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

      You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

      Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

      1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

      If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

      Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

      When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

      Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

      So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

      Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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      2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

      Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

      Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

      • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
      • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
      • Answer a few Superpower Questions

      Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

      3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

      Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

      The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

      You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

      Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

      Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

      4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

      The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

      Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

      To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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      This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

      5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

      Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

      Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

      • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
      • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
      • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

      The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

      Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

      6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

      I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

      To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

      Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

      A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

      Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

      Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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      7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

      Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

      Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

      What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

      Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

      8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

      Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

      Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

      What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

      These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

      9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

      Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

      This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

      Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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      “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

      10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

      Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

      Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

      You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

      You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

      Final Thoughts

      Eleanor Roosevelt said,

      “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

      Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

      By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

      If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

      This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

      Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

      More About Success in Life

      Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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