There is a power to language.
A power to the words we choose to describe...
It is something that we often underestimate or ignore.
And yet...it is something worth considering.
I often have clients consciously pay attention to the words they choose to describe their day, their mood, their struggles, their joys...their ups and their downs.
It provides a window to their inner world.
Do they feel powerful?
Do they feel defeated?
Two very different pictures of a life, a person, a day and a moment emerge through language...
quite often we toss out words as if they were mismatched socks...
unaware of their invisible power to shape our mood, our body language and our actions.
On a recent RadioLab podcast entitled "Why isn't the Sky Blue?" a curious question was investigated based on the notion that the ancient world did not have a word for the color blue:
"If a word for something does not exist, can it be seen?"
In an effort to answer this question, Jules Davidoff travelled to Namibia to study the Himba tribe who, coincidentally, had no name for the color blue...but many names to describe the colorgreen.
Jules devised a simple but effective test to determine whether a thing can be seen if it has no name...in this case, the color blue.
The tribe was given a circular pattern ofcolored squares.
Each square was colored green, except for one that was colored blue.
The tribe was then asked toplay a version of "Guess which one doesn't belong."
The members had great difficultly identifying the bluesquare or chose the wrong square altogether.
Tweaking the exercise a bit, Jules then gave the tribe a similar circular pattern ofcolored squares.
This time each square was colored green, except for one that was a slightly different shade of green.
Once again, the tribe was asked to identify the square that "didn't belong."
The outlier was quickly identified by all members.
So what does this mean?
Why is it important?
What does it have to do with the words we use?
Words can shape what we see.
What we see is often what we believe.
What we believe shapes how we see our world and ourselves.
How we see ourselves and the world determines the action or inaction taken.
The action or inaction taken...builds a life.
If we describe our life and ourselves as bored, exhausted, stifled and disempowered...we inadvertently create a prison...held together by our own words.
If we describe our life and ourselves as challenging, curious, animated and empowered...we create a world of limitless potential and possibility...elevated and supported by our own words.
The gift of life is the ability to freely and consciously choose what we see and what we believe.
Words craft that world within our minds eye...
and as humans,
we dutifully adhere to its' vision.