The Power of Words
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
― Emily Dickinson
Words … they have been used to make us laugh and cry. They can wound or heal us. They offer us hope or devastation. With words, we can make our noblest intentions felt and our deepest desires known. Words are amazing and yet we often just say them without thinking about what we are saying and the effect they could be having on ourselves or those around us.
We use words to speak to others often we also use words to speak to ourselves consistently and constantly.
Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes and to shape the course of destiny. Words cannot only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.
Some famous speeches that have impacted world events:
Who can forget the moving invocation of Martin Luther King, Jr., as he shared his vision, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live the true meaning of its creed…”
John F Kennedy’s speech “and so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
The speech by Earl Spencer at his sister Diana, The Princess of Wales’ funeral, “I stand before you today, the representative of a family in grief, in a country in mourning, before a world in shock.
We are all united, not only in our desire to pay our respects to Diana, but rather in our need to do so, because such was her extraordinary appeal that the tens of millions of people taking part in this service all over the world via television and radio who never actually met her feel that they too lost someone close to them in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It is a more remarkable tribute to Diana than I can ever hope to offer to her today.”
The examples could go on and on.
Many of us are well aware of the powerful part that words have played in our history, of the power that great speakers have moved us, but few of us are aware of our own power to use these same words to move ourselves emotionally, to challenge, embolden, and strengthen our spirits, to move ourselves to action, to seek greater richness from this gift we call life.
An effective selection of words to describe the experience of our lives can heighten our most empowering emotions. A poor selection of words can devastate us just as surely and just as swiftly. Most of us make unconscious choices in the words that we use; we sleep walk our way through the maze of possibilities available to us. Realise now the power that your words command if you simply choose them wisely.
This is what I am hoping to pass onto you today. The power of words. How they can change your direction, empower you and help your dreams become your reality.
Words – What a gift these simple symbols are! We transform these unique shapes we call letters (or sounds, in the case of the spoken word) into a unique and rich tapestry of human experience. They provide us with a vehicle for expressing and sharing our experience with others; however, most of us don’t realise that the words you habitually choose also affect how you communicate with yourself and therefore what you experience.
Words can injure our egos or inflame our hearts – we can instantly change any emotional experience simply by choosing new words to describe to ourselves what we’re feeling. If, however, we fail to master words, and if we allow their selection to be determined strictly by unconscious habit, we may be denigrating our entire experience of life. If you describe a magnificent experience as being “pretty good,” the rich texture of it will be smoothed and made flat by your limited use of vocabulary. People with an impoverished vocabulary live an impoverished emotional life; people with rich vocabularies have a multi-hued palette of colours with which to pain their experience, not only for others, but for themselves as well.
Most people are not challenged though by the size of the vocabulary they consciously understand, but rather by the words they choose to use.
We must realise that the English language is filled with words that, in addition to their literal meanings, convey distinct emotional intensity. For example, if you develop a habit of saying you ‘hate’ things – you ‘hate’ your hair, you ‘hate’ your job, you ‘hate’ having to do something – do you think this raises the intensity of your negative emotional states more than if you were to use a phrase like “I dislike “ or “I prefer something else?”
Using emotionally charged words can magically transform your own state or someone else’s. How do the words “impeccable” or “integrity” compare to “well done” and “honesty”? The words “pursuit of excellence” certainly creates more intensity than “trying to make things better.”
Simply by changing your habitual vocabulary – the words you consistently use to describe the motions of your life – you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live.
Taken from “Awaken The Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins
“Be an inspiration to yourself and
you will be an inspiration to others.”