“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
- The Princess Bride
Words hold power. If you don’t believe me, think about this:
Have you ever…
- been moved to tears (or action) by a speech or movie scene?
- felt embarrassed over an off-handed comment made by a friend or relative?
- been yelled at by a boss or parent?
- decided to vote for a political candidate based on speeches, debates or quotes in an article?
- read a book that changed your life?
- heard (or said), “I love you?”
Several times in the past few days I’ve taken friends and colleagues to task because the words they chose did not convey what they “meant” to say. It resulted in my misunderstanding their intentions. They brushed it off by saying, “Well, you know what I meant,” or, “Oh, I didn’t mean that!”
In one case, I did know. But that doesn’t mean everyone would – or, more importantly, that what they said (rather than what they “meant” to say) wouldn’t become embedded in their subconscious as part of their life views.
That’s where we have to be really careful about word choices. We may know what we mean, but the actual words we use have power – on others and on ourselves. An ancient Indian proverb states:
I am aware of my thoughts because my thoughts become my words.
I am aware of my words because my words become my actions.
I am aware of my actions because my actions become my deeds.
I am aware of my deeds because my deeds become my character.
I am aware of my character because my character becomes my destiny.
-excerpted from The Secret Abundance Files
Distilled to its most basic meaning: “Our thoughts and words determine our destiny.”
And, to cover all bases in this short post:
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11:23)
Do you agree that selecting the correct word to convey your meaning – whether you are writing an article, an e-mail a speech, or even holding a casual conversation – is important?
Having said all this, I've been considering changing the name of this blog. At one point in my career, it was a useful catchphrase to describe what I do for a living, and kept me open to nearly any type of writing assignment. Now, though, it's beginning to reek of desperation.
I may consider holding a contest in the future, but for now, I just want to know:
Should I change the name of this blog or keep it "Anything That Pays?"
Please vote in the comments section. I appreciate it!