The Issue With Labels

Presentation Lee McKing labels

Ok so today we are going to talk about labels

First off, what are labels?


  • a classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive

Wait what??

“inaccurate or restrictive”??

That’s from an online dictionary

Basically when you Google “label meaning”

Cambridge dictionary describes a label as

  • a word or a phrase that is used to describe the characteristics or qualities of people, activities, or things, often in a way that is unfair

Now a label is also “unfair”???

So guess what?

A label is inaccurate, restrictive and unfair

So that’s it right?

Well that’s the problem

Lee McKing and a scene of monsters

You see, you’ve probably gave a label to someone before 

Which means it could have been inaccurate, restrictive and unfair

A parent might label their child as “naughty”

A teacher might label a student as “stupid”

A girl might think a stranger looks “like a criminal” 

A guy might think the neighbour is “noisy”

The list goes on

And you know what’s worse than labelling your friend, family, child, colleague, staff etc something that is inaccurate, restrictive and unfair?


Yes you

You might label yourself in an inaccurate, restrictive and unfair manner

I’m not joking

Isn’t putting yourself down much worse than labelling others?

And it gets worse!

Let me share an experiment

So I don’t know when but some psychologists gave an assessment to a class of say 40 students

And they got the top 5 and bottom 5 students

What happened is that they told the teacher the top 5 are the bottom 5 and the bottom 5 are the top 5

Essentially, they swap the results

So a year later, they did an assessment for the students and found that the original top 5, told to the teacher as the bottom 5, are now in the bottom 5 and vice versa

So what happened?

The teachers might have have had a label of the top 5 and bottom 5 students

When the top 5 (told to her as bottom 5) want to ask a question, the teacher might have felt irritated cause she might have labelled the bottom 5 as stupid, naughty or even troublemakers

And when the bottom 5 (told to her as top 5) want to ask a question, the teacher might have shown more attention or give praise cause she might have labelled the top 5 as smart, curious or even proactive

Of course, I’m adding my possible opinions for the study and what might have happened

And it’s true isn’t it?

When you think a particular friend is being all whiny, you start to treat him or her differently

You rather get away from this person, or even throw a temper at him or her

Similarly, if you label someone as good and kind, she or he will get your best treatment and you might even grow from affectionate

lee mcking grey

So how now brown cow? 

What can we do as individuals?

Can we completely stop negative labelling?

Or remove labelling totally??

Unfortunately, probably not

But we can make a step towards positive change

And it starts with you

By having a more understanding way of interacting with people

And accepting yourself as who you are and making tiny changes

For example, yea you might get first impressions from others but remember that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and then have a chat with an open mind

When you see a child screaming and yelling in a public place, don’t label the child as naughty (truthfully, the parents might not have been giving the right attention of “praise” and thus the child seeks the wrong attention of “scold”)

Especially your own kids!!

Don’t think they have your genes and therefore must be good in math!

With this, I hope you gain more awareness of yourself too

Lee McKing and his story

How you label yourself, you portray that to others 

If you think you are worthless, you will show yourself to be such, and people will see that

Kinda like a self fulfilling prophesy but that’s a topic for another day

I’m not telling you to lie to yourself!

If you are really committing a mistake, take steps to change it

And become a better person one step at a time 🙂

Take care!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *