Monday, May 11, 2009


Word are powerful. Written and spoken alike. Through a media like movies or music, words can make, move and improve us. They can also shred, bruise and batter us.
A word can be read in a manner that transforms and shifts the paradigm from one end of emotion spectrum to the other.

The written word is powerful to be sure. But when spoken, a weak word can become powerful. A harmless word can cut like a knife. A nice or kind word can be transformed into a bouquet of love , just by the way it is used.

I toss this thought out after a weekend enjoying live theater in the form of "Glengarry Glen Ross", the David Mamet Pulitzer prize and Tony winning play, that was made into a motion picture back in the early 90's.
Dialogue that makes our stomachs churn and turn as we listen to cutting words and heart/gut wrenching colloquies, that invoke all our emotions.

I listened as best I could in my cochlear world, and took in much, filled in the rest when the analog sound did not seem to have a digital counterpart for my processor to fire at me. As I took in the play, it occurred to me that the power of live words, versus the written word, can be as stark in contrast as darkness and light.
I was reminded of my 9 months in a cone of silence, where I lived by the written word only.
I missed the inflictions in voice, the feelings and emotions behind the word, that make it a world for the hearing in so many ways.

As visual as I became, and as "Zen and Buddhist" my world was converted to by default in my new world of enhanced observation, I still missed the sound of voices.

I also gave thought to the power of voice and, more importantly, the words one chooses, in a contemplation and Mother's Day mussing.
I was thinking about how wonderful Mothers use the power of words to communicate encouragingly to their children.
I have heard many mothers, over the years, use the power of words to achieve a result, that only that particular choice of words would work. I compared my mental notes to how I hear the "same question" but worded differently, used in the nasty world of business.

Compare if you will, real life examples that I have been witness to, or a part of in my life. The mother may have been mine, a friend who is also a mother, or the mother of my son at one time in her life.
The question is, or was, the result of an action by a child that caused a not so great reaction by a mother; and a business action viewed latter by a superior who is not so happy with the result as well:

Boss: "What were you thinking? How could you make such a mess of this? There were a hundred ways of doing this project without getting the result you did, and pick the one that Fu**s it up!"

Mother: "My, my. that is an interesting way of doing that. It is creative, and I am so glad you found a way that you like to do it. Maybe there is another way that we can do it next time, so we don't make such a big mess".

Boss: "What's wrong with you!!!!"

Mother: "What's troubling you? "

Wow! How you would rather be asked the reason behind your concerned look? "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!"....or Whats troubling you?

You get the picture and know the dialogue well I am sure.
I think a pre-requisite for the job of CEO of any company should be "Mother" at one time. Amazing multi-takers, best negotiators, and bar none, the tops at communication. They use words with thought behind them. They accomplish more with the way they say the words, and their choice of words.

As we make our way in this journey, it only seems right that we enjoy it. Our concerto should be one that we embrace as we make it. We only have one.

The changes that come every second in our lives need to be celebrated. We have to embrace and be be passionate about what we do. We need to have fun with the changes. We need to celebrate the wins, and shrug off the losses. Loss is part of life, one of the changes that happen every second.

How can we thirst for more and dream our dreams if we hear words that discourage? How can one enjoy their concerto if all they see are road blocks at every fork that only give us one path?

If we want to chart our course for growth, no matter if we are six or sixty, we need a map that lets us be intellectually curious. A guide that lets us ask questions. A mentor that allows for mistakes and uses words to encourage the journey, rather than discourage.
We need to hear words that have passion, love, and encourage curiosity and exploration.

Words can enact change!
When we read some awe inspiring piece, we feel the change in our bellies. we want to test the new theory right away. We embrace a change that needs to happen, no, a change that must happen in order for us to grow.

I try to be aware constantly of words I choose, and words I use when to speak to ANYONE.
I believe of course in being as respectful as I can. I like to have and show integrity in my speech and words. Of course being honest and living in truth with my words is huge.

I try to use only a few words if I can. I put myself on a word budget.

I hate to spend words, but love to buy them from everyone I meet and greet.
I spend a fortune listening to people.

I also strive to be humble. I am far from perfect, and have more imperfections than the average bear.
I, like you and the rest of the world, have 83 problems.
Every day.
Every day they may or not be the same.

Words are tools, and no matter if we conference, chat, discuss, type, twitter or text, we need to be mindful that tools can be used as hammers to beat down; hacksaws to cut with, loppers to shear with, or pick axes to cleave, dice and hash with.
Or words can be tools that create, hand devices that initiate the start of wonderful life changing projects.
Tools that help lead, and spark the creative fire that lies in all of us.
An implement that strives to make us better.
All of us!

So in a rather interesting way, I went to a play where words invoked some raw emotions, which led to a thought of how a Mother would never use the words that David Mamet wrote for the characters in his play, to how I missed the spoken word in my cone of silence, to how we all need to use words better to leave a legacy of good thought with everyone we touch.
That led to a posting on a little thing called words.

Little things mean a lot?

7 comments: said...

yes words are powerful things to hear and see through subtitles and reading. They have the power to make you happy or upset you.

themom said...

It appears life is moving in positive ways for you now. For this I am happy. Enjoy it all!!

Colin said...

I learned as a child a little gem from a well know American pioneer and author of Little house on the prairie,
Laura Ingles Wilder;

“If wisdoms ways you wisely seek, five thing observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how and when and where."
I enjoyed your thought provoking post.


lisahgolden said...

I love this and I'm feeling ashamed because I just posted a an angry piece where I used words to tear down instead of build up.

Kay Dennison said...

Someone wiser that I said: Make your words sweet -- someday you may have to eat them.

Been there; done that.

Kerry said...

Once again your remind me as a Mom I have done the right thing for my Son.
Building up and little things are everything.

Mary Ellen said...

You just posted about one of my favorite subjects. I love words. I also think about words and their impact. In our electronic communications, it's so easy to misunderstand the intention behind the words, missing the inflections, too easily superimposing a 'tone' where none was intended. It's of particular concern for me, possessing as I do a bit of a sarcastic edge (which I intend to be humorous, but which has been misinterpreted on several occasions).

Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I love reading your words.