Rooms 351-365: Choose Your Words Wisely
“Words are timeless. You should utter them or write them with a knowledge of their timelessness.”
As a writer I love words. They’re the tools of the trade. They’re my pliers. My scalpel. My spreadsheet. Words don’t just communicate thoughts and messages. They add flavor and spice, along with joy, amusement, and truth.
Yes, words can incite, destroy, divide, outrage, antagonize and punish. But, in the right hands, and with the right intent, they can heal, encourage, unite, uplift and transform.
As Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
With that in mind, it’s easy to get careless with our words, letting them slip out of our mouth without thought of where they’re going or what they’re doing. It’s also easy to get lazy, falling into a habit of using the same words over and over again.
To a degree, this makes sense.
Our words are our voice and our voice is what makes us unique. However, if left unchecked, our words (like the rest of our life) can just as easily become nothing more than an endless loop of what we’ve already said before, turning us into the proverbial “broken record” that keeps us locked in the same room.
In short, we talk ourselves into the life we’re living.
In the spirit of The Other 999 Rooms, it’s time to reinvent our lives through the power of the word. And while we’re at it, we can put some sparkle into our language and joy into the way we communicate with the world.
Rooms 351-365: Choose Your Words Wisely
Our mission this week is to find as many different ways to incorporate new words into our lives as possible.
While we’ve touched on this in past blogs (Room 24: Make Up Your Own Language), it’s time to embrace the power of the word even more. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”
I think that’s advice worth taking. Beginning today.
So, grab a notebook and let’s get started with a few vocabulary-expanding, consciousness-raising word experiments.
Experiment 1: Say Only The Words You Mean
We all know words have power. But, we don’t always act like they do. How often do we say something without really thinking about its meaning. “It breaks my heart…I’m just sick about this…My life will never be the same…I’m ruined.” Now, we may think this is harmless chatter, and maybe it is. But, words are energy. They can empower us or weaken us. Either way, our words are creating our reality. This week make a pledge to not say anything you don’t mean, as well as anything that you wouldn’t want to materialize in your life. Treat every word as if each one were single-handedly creating your world.
This one tiny experiment could change your life.
Experiment 2: Discover Your Own Power Words
Now, given the fact that words have energy, it makes sense to bring power words into our lives as often as possible. These are our own personal words that reflect what we want to bring into our lives, and what we want to master. Create your own list of words, choosing whatever resonates with you. Love. Truth. Honesty. Mindfulness. Laughter. Consciousness. Health. Joy. Abundance. Rippled abs. Whatever matters to you, write it down. But, don’t just put these words in your notebook, tape them to your refrigerator and mirrors, then say them as often as you can. Take them into meditation, on a walk, or in the shower. Read them before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning. And don’t just read them, but feel them, and live them.
Experiment 3: Have Some Fun With Your Words
Ever since we were kids we’ve been told that our words must have a purpose and fit into one beautifully constructed sentence. But, I don’t think language has to be so serious. Or utilitarian. Like everything else, we can bend language to our own taste. This week, let’s stop being so practical and start adding words to our lives, if for no other reason than we like the way they roll off our tongue.
I’ve already started my own list of words I like to say: hipster, fandango, loofa, befuddle, gobbledygook, and any word that starts with the letter K. Kentucky. Ketchup. Kleptomaniac. I can’t get enough of the K. And don’t just collect the words, use them as often as possible. The more we embrace the joy and lightness of our words, the more conscious we’ll be of their power.
Experiment #4: Choose Your Own Word Of The Day
For the next week, pick your own “word of the day” and use it as much as you can. Choose it from the previous lists, or from a thesaurus, or a book you’re reading. However you find your word, make it your mantra for the day and, again, find as many ways to creatively use it as possible.
My word for today is hashtag. I know it’s a word generally reserved for Twitter, but I’m putting it in front of everything I say. It’s my new exclamation point. Hashtag the word has power.
Of course, nobody in my family likes it, but then again, they didn’t like yesterday’s word either, which for the record was quagmire.
Experiment #5: Steal Someone Else’s Words
I’m all for authenticity, but sometimes a little word theft never hurt anybody. This week, don’t be afraid to adopt someone else’s way of saying something. My friend, Johnny, an English chap, always uses the phrase “can do.” Ask him for any sort of favor and nine out of ten times he’ll give you a “can do.” I love it. It’s got personality, enthusiasm and power.
He also uses the word “mmmmmm.” Technically, this isn’t a word, but it should be. It’s his all purpose adjective/verb/exclamation. Most times I have no idea what it means. It could mean he’s thinking, or he agrees with you, or disagrees, or he has to go to the bathroom. I’m never sure. But, I know this. It’s a beautiful word. And I’m going to start using it.
Experiment #6: Be A Living Thesaurus
Ultimately, this is the week to be a walking thesaurus. Our goal is to use as many different words as we can. Find new words to answer the phone with, tell someone you love them, or express how tired you are; find new words to say hello, good-bye, or good-night; new words for the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the friends you have. New words for everything. Big words, small words, foreign words, Latin words, slang words, swear words. All that matters is that you express yourself in as many different ways as possible in every moment you can.
At the end of the day, we’re not looking for words to make us sound smarter or wiser, but to find new ways to express ourselves, and in turn to see the world.
It is an experiment that teaches us a simple lesson: the more we are able to replace one option with another option, the sooner we will see our possibilities open up and our realities widen. No longer will we see things as black and white, but as a colorful palette of infinite choice.
Popular wisdom says that if you change your thinking, you will change your life. Well, the quickest way to change your thinking is with the words you choose.
Words are the beginning of a message we send to the world, and to ourselves.
It pays to be mindful.
It pays to bring originality and thought to our words, along with humor, joy and truth.
Hashtag…you won’t regret it. I give you my word.
If you have a favorite word, or find one this week, I want to know about it. Share it in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed today's post, subscribe above. Receive your Weekly Room delivered right to your inbox. And, while you're at it, visit me on Facebook. I’d love to have you.