Life lessons on the words you use
Did you know there are 171,476 words in the English dictionary? Or that there are 6,909 different ways to say them?
In our world, words matter.
As an infant, we talk to babies the second they are born. They can’t understand what we’re saying, but every word we say matters.
Before you can respond with words, we gave encouragement so you could act. First, it was trying to help you roll over. That gave way to grabbing a toy just out of reach. The grand finale of your first year was taking that first step. You can’t imagine the encouragement we gave. If we had them, we would have been jumping up and down with pom-poms!
There is no way you can remember those words. But imagine, what would have happened if we never gave a single word of encouragement? Worse yet, what would have happened if we did the opposite and told you over and over that you couldn’t do it?
Every parent hopes your first words are “Mumma” and “Dadda.” There is no sweeter sound as a parent. It fills you with joy.
This phenomenon never changes. A person’s favourite word is their name. They will hear it a million times, but it will never get old. The small act of remembering a name will earn you more respect and gratitude than you could imagine.
“Please” and “thank you” are good ones, too. In one breath, these words send a message to the world. They tell the other person you are polite and respectful – or the complete opposite.
Words have the power to change. They can transform a person into a better version of themselves or they can send someone down a dark hole.
Growing up, my family, friends, coaches and mentors were always encouraging me. It’s impossible to say what I would have achieved without those words of support. I may not have consciously paid much attention to those words back then, but I can see the importance of them now.
There was a famous experiment by a Japanese scientist, Masura Emoto. He wanted to see if the energy of words had an impact on water. When pure water freezes it creates a beautiful ice crystal. If there is pollution in the water, it will form an ugly clump.
In his experiment, he took pure water and poured it into a container with labels that read “I hate you” or “fear”. A day later that frozen water was a grey blob, not a beautiful crystal.
Then he took polluted water and put it in containers labelled “I Love You” and “Peace.” A day later the frozen water showed off a perfect crystal shape.
If words can have such an impact on water, what can they do to us? And don’t forget, we are all made up of 60 per cent water. (Side note: you can see more about this experiment in the movie What The Bleep Do We Really Know!?)
By focusing on positive words you can have an unimaginable impact on yourself and others…
In life, I’ve found you only speak to two different people. The first is yourself and the second is everyone else. When it comes to yourself, I’m talking about that inner voice. The voice that tells you something looks great or something looks dumb. The voice that says you can crush a challenge or the one that tells you there is no way. Whatever you tell yourself, you are going to listen. We all believe what we continue to hear, regardless of where it comes from.
I’ve met plenty of people out there that don’t want me to succeed and will say things to tear me down. It can be hard to ignore them. The good news is I always have a friend in myself. I try to always be on my side. I try to always be my biggest fan.
Whenever I was in doubt about a job or task I had, I would give myself a pep talk. And since I was doing all the talking, no one could talk back. I would remind myself of all that I’ve done to that point. I would tell myself that I can do this.
I see now that I can create any image I want of myself. I may not get encouragement from others, but I can at least get it from myself.
You have to look out for negativity. It is a cancer. I try my best to push anything negative out of my life. That could be worry, negative habits, negative people, negative thoughts or even my own negative words.
The opposite is true as well. By focusing on positive words you can have an unimaginable impact on yourself and others.
Words can take someone that is on the verge of quitting and push that one extra step. Words can help teams unlock creativity and achieve more than they could alone.
As humans, we love to talk. Words come fast and easy. This can be a good thing or bad. There are plenty of times I’ve said something I immediately regretted. Benjamin Franklin sums it up this way: “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Since this lesson is about words, I want to leave you with a few more. I want you to know:
You are capable
You are strong
You are confident
You are honest
You have integrity
You are respectful
You are adventurous
You are gentle
You are persistent
You are funny
You are beautiful
You are caring
You are hardworking
You are intelligent
You are a great friend
You can achieve anything you want
Chad Bockius is a blogger and author of Be Better, a book available on Amazon that shares more than 70 letters written to his kids covering a range of life lessons. He resides in Bee Cave, Texas (USA) with his wife and two children. This post has been republished with permission. You can follow Chad on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.