“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.”
—Rita Mae Brown, American feminist writer
Image from Unsplash by Kelly Sikkema
I have just finished reading the book Fundamentals — Ten Keys to Reality by Frank Wilczek. Frank is a former winner of the Nobel Prize for physics and more recently was awarded the Templeton Prize.
As a former science teacher, I was drawn to this book to better help me understand how our universe works and how we as human beings fit into the big picture.
Examining the universe within each of us and our relationships to one another is at least as intriguing as the world of particles and forces that shape our world.
In many ways, it is even more challenging because there is no mathematical wizardry to describe them.
Where is the force of language exerting a pull on your personal tides? How can you use it as a renewable energy source to power your life?
“I personally think we developed language because of our deep need to complain.”
—Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, singer, and producer
Image from Unsplash by Affix Kusuma
Did you ever notice while watching a nature program that you never see animals complain when:
They are outwitted by their prey?
They deal with inclement weather?
They are injured?
They lose a fight to seek a mate?
They simply press on with things and try again.
Humans are different. It’s pretty common to see others or find ourselves complaining about a bad meal, lousy weather, poor service, our aches and pains, and a host of other matters in life that don’t go as we wish.
How might we better use our language skills to acknowledge what is right in the world and simply take the challenges and setbacks life offers with perhaps just a whimper or two?
“When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 17th Century American essayist, philosopher, and poet
Image from Unsplash by Austin Human
There are a number of stories and legends behind Missouri’s sobriquet, “The Show Me State.”
The slogan, although not official, is commonly used throughout the state and is on Missouri’s license plates.
The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s Congressman, Willard Duncan Vandiver. In an 1899 speech, he declared:
“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquences neither convict nor satisfy me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
How and in what ways can you be more of a practiced person who relies far more on the language of the eyes and not just those of the tongue?
“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.”
—Rita Mae Brown, American Feminist Writer
Image from Unsplash by Valery Sysoev
Did you know that in addition to gravity, astronomers and physicists have identified other forces such as dark matter and dark energy, that attract and repel, respectively?
They know dark matter exists because visible matter – including celestial bodies such as our moon – do not exert enough gravitational energy to hold galaxies together.
Examine your thinking and the language used by those in your personal and professional communities. To what extent are the words and phrases exerting a positive, attractive force that holds, uplifts, and brings us together – or perhaps forces us apart?
How might greater mindfulness of your own inner voice and the words you speak aloud be used to create far more high tides and fewer low tides in your world?
What would be the value if all people used the power of language to bring their various communities together as well?
“To give of yourself is much more important than giving a gift you can buy.”
—Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, Inc.
WARNING! There will be a test at the end of this post!
Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, has sold over 12 million copies and has been a #1 New York Times best seller for over 8 years. It has received over 14,000 reviews on Amazon, with 94% being 5 or 4 stars. And given its universal appeal to people around the world, it has been translated into 50 languages. The five languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
Please note that only one out of the five languages is about gifts, and a subset are hand-made rather than bought.
How and in what additional ways can you more fully give of yourself to demonstrate your love of family, friends and others you care about?
Please consider taking the Five Love Languages test and share this expertise with those closest to you to discover their love preferences.
“Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.”
—Wendell Johnson, 20th Century American psychologist, actor, and author
Did you know that always and never are considered violent words? In the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD suggests these words usually get in the way of compassionate, heartfelt relationships.
Consider what you think and feel when people in your personal or professional worlds use these words to dramatically make their point. This practice generally conveys considerable judgement and a critical view, thus attacking the perspective held by the other parties.
Where is being right and making others wrong through the use of the words always and never getting in the way or diminishing the kinds of relationships you sincerely desire?
“Our words are our thoughts with wings. We open our mouths, our minds fly out.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation
Image from A Place to be Encouraged
We humans have a superpower not shared with any other creatures on Earth.
Given today’s quote, you would be correct in labeling language as our superpower.
With it, mankind has literally shaped and manifested all kinds of wondrous things, and some horrid things as well.
I’ve been watching a National Geographic Channel series called Origins: The Journey of Humankind, which points to a wide variety of moments that have shaped our society. Consider the impact of language on technology, medicine, government, monetary systems, and even war and terrorism on our world today.
Consider your inner voice and the words you choose to let fly into your personal and professional worlds. Be sure you are giving only your best when you decide to give others a piece of your mind.
If you check out the Origins series, let me know your thoughts!
“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.”
-Bil Keane, American Cartoonist, author of The Family Circus
Image from Flickr by Jan Karlo Camero
On this Valentine’s Day, let’s imagine we are from Missouri—the “Show Me” state—where actions speak louder than words.
In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman states that only one of the languages actually says anything. The other four ways to show our love are:
- Spending quality time
- Receiving and giving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch, including hugs
How can and will you say and demonstrate your love for the special people in your life, this Valentine’s Day, and every day to come?
Consider picking up a copy of Chapman’s important book, to become more masterful at demonstrating your love to others.
“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
—Will Rogers, 20th Century American Cowboy Humorist
Image from Flickr by Martin Pettitt
Did you know that parrots experience peer pressure? Just like humans, they desire to fit in with others in their group. This is one reason they learn to copy the sounds and language of the people around them.
This morning at the gym one of the other regulars was talking with a trainer. I was shocked by the level of vulgarity, back-stabbing, and general gossip in their conversation, especially being in a public place.
How do your actions and use of language stand up to the parrot test? What adjustments might you make to have the town gossip say only good things, or at the very least, say nothing about you?