The power of words…

August 22, 2014

From a recent post on Jack’s Winning Words – “There’s a great power in words, if you don’t put too many of them together.”  (Josh Billings)

I certainly agree with the power of words and enjoyed doing the series that I posted here on “Three Little Words”. I have the problem of using too many words most of the time. I sometimes call it the Thomas Wolfe syndrome. Wolfe was a major novelist of the early 20th Century who wrote very length and wordy novels. I’ve seen reviewers who words wordswrote that Thomas Wolfe never met a word that he didn’t like and want to use.

I’ve also had some feedback that some of what I write is like encountering a “wall of words”; so, I’ve tried to place a few cartoon pictures into the text for the amusement of those who need visual; stimulation. Like Wolfe, I enjoy the flow and turn of words strung together well, sometimes perhaps too much.

But, enough on that. The power of today’s little quote is learning to say something profound and meaningful in a few words and then letting it alone to sink in. Saying “I love you”, for instance does not need to be accompanied by a lengthy explanation. Just put it out there and let it sink in.  Saying “I forgive you”, does not require a rehash of whatever it was that you are now forgiving the person for having done.

There is a fine line between being perceived as profound and being taken to be a know-it-all blowhard. That line is not drawn in the sand it is made up of the many words floating in the air that the blowhard uses to tryGandhi to impress others.  Great thinkers and leaders seen to have that ability to say things in short, very quotable sentences and phrases that live forever. Google the quotes of people like Mahatma Gandhi or The Dahlia Lama or Martin Luther King and you will see a great many quotes of very short length but huge meaning. Almost all iconic inspirational sayings that wind up as posters on people’s walls are short, yet tremendously meaningful.

So, as we head into the weekend, focus upon being abler to say what you mean to get across in a few words that will have more impact. You may wish to start with the two little phrases above, or perhaps questions like “How can I help?” Whatever you do; try to heed the advice that you may have already heard that when someone asks you what time it is, don’t try to show them how smart you are by telling them how to build a watch.

Try to be  profound, not profuse in your use of words. Have a great weekend!