Change your world today…

January 11, 2017

“You can change your world by changing your words.”  (Joel Osteen) – from some time ago on my favorite source of inspiration, the Jack’s Winning Words blog. 

I don’t recall what Jack said about this little quote at the time, but I knew that I wanted to save it and write something about it later. I’ve posted here a few times about attitude and how having a positive attitude can change things in your life. The words that one chooses to use can both spring from that attitude and impact it at the same time.

It may seem to you to be a simplistic view of life that your words matter so much; however,different beliefs if you choose to use upbeat and positive words to describe the things and people around you it will reinforce your positive attitude about life. If your words are harsh or critical, things will look a lot darker around you. People might start avoiding you, because they don’t want to be dragged down by your words or they may approach you in an argumentative way, because they find your words to be offensive or hurtful.

It may take a conscientious effort to choose to use positive and upbeat words, rather than just throw out the first words that come to mind; but, after a while, you will notice that the words of encouragement and thanks and praise come more naturally. It also requires more thought about the way the words that you use are received and perceived by those with whom you are speaking. I was recent sent a link to an article on the use of words in business for use as an educational topic at an upcoming referral network group meeting. The article was entitled Phrases Smart People Refuse To Use In Conversation by Dr. Travis Bradberry. One example from this article demonstrates how the words you use about the same topic can be taken by the listener as either hurtful or positive.

Bradbury wrote this about the words not to use with someone who has lost weight –

“Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!” Once again, a well-meaning comment—in this case a compliment—creates the impression that you’re being critical. Telling someone that she has lost a lot of weight suggests that she used to look fat or unattractive.

Instead say: “You look fantastic.” This one is an easy fix. Instead of comparing how she looks now to how she used to look, just compliment her for looking great. It takes the past right out of the picture.

You can see how even an innocent comment that is meant as a compliment can be taken the wrong way by the listener. So, it’s not just positive vs. negative words that one needs to be concerned about, but rather how all of the words that we use to try to communicate will be received.

obamhaUsing the right words requires attention and concentration. One of the aspects that I most admired about outgoing President Barrack Obama is his very measured, thoughtful and precise use of the language. You can tell by watching him speak that he is carefully choosing the words that he uses to make sure that they get his points across in an unambiguous manner. Let’s all hope that the incoming Tweeter-in-Chief can indeed “act Presidential” as he claimed during his campaign and do a better job of communicating his thoughts when he has to use more than 140 characters.

So, resolve to take the time and make the effort to choose your words more wisely and to use positive and upbeat words wherever you can today. See if that doesn’t have a positive impact on you and the people around you. Your words can paint a picture of you as EeyoreSnoopy joy the sad donkey in Winnie the Pooh or as the happy, dancing Snoopy in the Peanuts comic. Which would you rather be perceived to be?

Speak happy, be happy!  Change your world today.

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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!