“Words are but pictures of our thoughts.” (John Dryden), as seen on a recent blog post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
There is another old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. I wonder how many words it takes to draw a picture of our thoughts? The folks who are into it might say just two (see 2wordstory.com); but I’m not sure that I would agree that those two words tell a story, so much as they evoke a story in people’s minds; each story a different reaction or memory keyed off by those two words, I suspect.
If words do represent pictures of our thoughts, what must people think us when we spew vitriolic words or perhaps when say really stupid things? What picture comes to their mind if we misuse words or speak mainly in monosyllables? If people thought we might not be all that bright to begin with, why open our mouths and draw them a picture that removes all doubt about that? Even people with strange accents can draw pictures with their words that paint them as being intelligent or thoughtful or kind. However, those whose accents mimic ours cannot long hide their level of ignorance, thoughtlessness or gracelessness if they paint those pictures with their words.
So, choose your words well before or as you speak, because once out there the picture that they paint of you is hard to erase or cover over. Your words might be perceived as beautiful images of the thoughts of someone that we’d like to get to know better or as the crass graffiti of someone that we’d like to avoid. The pictures that you draw with your words are up to you; but, what they are seen as by others is up to them. Filth looks as bad in a picture as it sounds coming out of your mouth. The color pallet of hate is as dark and red as the thoughts that are behind it. None of the pictures drawn by words of bigotry, racism, homophobia or intolerance may be made pretty by trying to wrap them in words about religion and beliefs. To steal and paraphrase a line from the movie Forest Gump – Ugly is as ugly says.
The secret to success in painting great verbal pictures may well lie in the sequence behind the little saying. If words are but pictures that we paint based upon our thoughts; then we need to get out thoughts in the right place first and then the right words will naturally follow. That can start with trying to start each day in a positive frame of mind. That will shove a whole lot of negative words into the background. Eventually, if you don’t use them for a while, maybe they’ll drop off into the bit-bucket and out of your vocabulary. As they drop off, try finding and adding new, more positive and upbeat words to add.
Soon you may notice that the verbal pallet that you are painting your pictures from is bright and cheery. You will likely also notice that many more people are interested in the pictures that you now paint. How much nicer it is to be known as someone who is “well spoken” than to be labeled a “potty mouth” or worse. It’s not that hard; but, you do have to stay in sequence – think before you start painting your verbal pictures.
Have a great day and a great weekend. Try to paint some pictures that will make others happy and they will like what they see and think better of you.