I’ve been doing some thinking lately about words. The most basic form of communication, words facilitate life. Their importance cannot be emphasized enough, however words in themselves have no inherent meaning. Words are nothing but symbols people attribute meaning to, and as such carry with them subjective implications. Obviously what something means to me would mean something completely different to someone else. It’s all about our window of perspective, which is framed with our experiences, our beliefs, etc. In other words (pun intended) no two people will view the same thing the same way or interpret the same word to mean exactly the same thing. Despite this, words have so much power that not a lot of people are aware of. Looking back in history at people like Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Mandela, where would they be without their impeccable use of words?
Recognizing the importance of words can be used to our advantage. First and foremost, we should always be candid in our communication, but it is all about HOW we say things. In business for example, instead of telling someone, “you are not doing a good job” you can phrase it in a more positive way: “ I’d like to share some opportunities to take your performance to the next level” It’s all about the languaging. As a matter of fact, words can even influence your own state of being! What you say pretty much determines how you feel. Calling something a ‘nightmare’ triggers a different response than looking at something as a ‘platform for improvement.’ So our diction determines how we respond to different scenarios. Since words convey beliefs, and beliefs lead to behavior, and behavior creates results, you can see how the train of reactions flow.
You’d be surprised at how refining your vocabulary improves your energy levels, state of mind, and spiritual well being. What you give attention to amplifies how you might be feeling. Talking a lot about something could magnify it to hyperbolized levels. Modern psychologist William James said, “our experience is what we attend to.” The connotations of the words you use direct your flow of energy. If you are constantly complaining about how something going for you, you will find yourself more deeply immersed in the very situations you want to avoid. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy in a way, what you think about you bring about, same concept applies with what you talk about and how you talk about it.
So adopting a more positive vocabulary, and using words to inspire people, make them feel good about themselves, pushing them to be the best version of themselves, will also shape the words that they chose to communicate. Speaking kindly to someone, in a world tinted with harsh words can make all the difference. After all, we have to lead by example.