Levi and I met in college and have been friends ever since. Levi is a great designer, lover of t-shirts, and husband to Allie and the father of one toddler and one soon-to-be-born little boy. You can keep up with Levi and his crazy adventures at his blog here.
Have you ever stopped to consider them?
No doubt, if you live on planet earth, you use them every day. I know I do. I probably use them too often, to be honest.
It’s not that I mean to, you must understand. I respect words very much. But sometimes, the ideas in my head are bigger than I can contain, and I have to express them!
Now, I know that a picture is worth a thousand words. I actually have been blessed with a small amount of artistic ability (emphasis on the small), but I have found in my short years that words more fully realize and communicate ideas or beauty than any picture I have ever seen or attempted to create. The imagery that one can evoke within a single sentence can last a lifetime or more, while a picture begins to fade the moment it is complete.
As an example, I have recently taken up the study of poetry, specifically Haiku. It has always fascinated me the striking amount of power that can be imbued into seventeen syllables. I will spare you the history lesson and simply say that the poetic form of Haiku has evolved many times since its early days, but the accepted modern verse of 5-7-5 is the bar by which many would-be poets have risen and fallen in the last century. Though it is not the driving purpose of a Haiku to present the reader with fascinating imagery, many great Haiku poets of the past have used it with incredible skill to perfectly capture the essence of a singular moment. One of my favorite examples by Anita Virgil:
the room is white
until that red apple
The amount of emotion and sense perception contained within this verse has stuck with me since I was in grade school! (Quick note: there are many variations of Haiku, such as the above. For more information, see The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson).
So what does all this have to do with words?
Well, everything really. You see, there is very little, if anything, that has ever been accomplished without the use of words. Our way of life, down to the very smallest of details, would simply disappear if we lacked the basic ability to communicate verbally.
I will leave your imagination to fill in the blanks, but if so much of what we consider “living life” and “progress” and “forward thinking” hinges on the spoken word, would it not make sense to focus on refining the ability?
Consider the salesman. Every paycheck he brings home is, in some part or in all, based on his ability to accurately communicate a need he or his company can fulfill for a client. How about motivational speakers? How much do you think people would pay to hear someone who had not perfected the art of speaking?
Think of leaders in your daily life. Your boss/manager. Your pastor at a local church. Your club/organization leader. Charities, fundraisers, even your lawn guy—all of these people depend on their ability to speak, to use words, and to use them well.
What I am getting at is this: your words can be very powerful. They can grow ideas, they can instruct others, and they can capture the hearts of readers or listeners for years to come. They can also be very hurtful, they can tear down, and they can in fact destroy when honed to a razor edge. Or they can just be words.
That is why I believe it is so important to learn to use them correctly. With the right words, nations have been founded, the wonders of the world were built, and hearts and lives have been changed. But it all started with a few simple words.
So take a moment, think about how learning to use your words could help you grow and benefit your life, and then do something about it. Don’t just close another browser window or screen on your phone—take action! Sign up for this blog, subscribe to the magazine, contact the author for more information on how you can become a better person by learning to use your words better each day. I know you won’t regret it.