During the final year of my engineering, just like many other students I carried the book “Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis” wherever I went. The mission was to imbibe as many powerful vocabularies as possible. My sightedness of the concept “powerful words” was confined to limited objectives – to aid my academia, qualifying in campus selection, or clearing TOEFL/GRE/GMAT/CAT/XAT (good Lord, am I missing anything here?). While reading, listening, writing or speaking, I mostly judged a content by the rifeness of difficult-to-understand vocabularies. Little did I know that a word’s power has nothing to do with 1000-most-frequently-used-GRE-words and that it has a much deeper meaning.
Mr. Oxford gifted the world a compilation of 22K modern English words which profusely grew to whopping 172K words today. Out of these superfine words, how do you categorize a word as “powerful” – based on of its length, its difficulty level, its usage, or on any other parameter? Over the period of time, some words retain their position in the dictionary, some become obsolete, and some make new entries depending on their usage across the geography. But very few get into limelight as powerful words. Those are called powerful because they have the potential to agitate a community, jolt a person’s mind, trigger a nationwide debate and give some contents to Arnav Goswami. I wanted to understand how do I know which word is powerful. I gradually realized that words themselves hold not much significance unless they are attached with its orator. The influence and mood of the orators are the qualities which give a word its efficacy and weightiness.
Bigger the Personality, Bigger the Responsibility of Guarding the Words
Let us consider one commonplace instance; every person takes part, actively or passively, in tea-time-chat at every nook and corner complaining about the status quo of the country and its governing bodies. During these lighthearted discourse, the famous one-liner ‘is desh ka kabhi kuch nahi ho sakta’ (the translation for your benefit is ‘nothing can happen to this country. Ever’) is recited countless times. But dare this sentence be uttered by any famous personality – a sports person, a movie star, or any popular creature with heavy wallet. Outcome is resolved – whole nation will unite to protest. Those who have no strings attached to working hours would come on roads to oppose and those who have working hours would take a refuse to social media. Banners displaying hatred messages “I hate so and so” would fill the land mass and hashtags like #Ihatesoandso would plague the screens.
“How could (s)he say that?”; “The impudence Shobhaa De calls our Olympic players a waste of time and money”; “Amir Khan shows the effrontery to call our country intolerant”; “Narendra Modi says Pakistan to step back”; “Rahul Gandhi says he has concrete proof against NaMo.”; “Salman Khan says he felt like a raped woman”; “Manmohan Singh says…..”. And yes, how can one forget the international sensation Donald Trump who despite his piddling and derisive language emerges to become the occupant of the White House.
Everywhere there comes hullabaloo because of these words. Words start grabbing the headlines forthwith along with ensued debates and commotions. What is the source of such scourge – the words, or the exporter of those words, or those who are giving those words power to ruin the holistic peace and tranquillity? Could these words have gathered similar pathos if it were told by an ordinary persona? Negative. These words could stir the nation just because those were spilled by celebrity profiles. In the end, Shobhaa De gets more mentions than the actual Olympic winners. Khan troops make history on box-office. RG gets his own footage in media. Many deserving news are left behind when a star figure utters an iota of unconventional wisdom. So overall who wins? On one hand, these high profiles gained what they wanted – fame disguised in infamy – and on the other hand, mango people get into head-on clashes to analyse what was said and why. In all these scenarios, we see that insignificant words can also gain its effectiveness if chimed by a broadly known personality.
Moreover, the power is not a confinement of rich-and-famous only. It cascades down to any level, even to your home. The breadwinner of the family gets a say in house, parents’ words overpower their child’s, elder child’s words become the ultimate words for younger siblings, and mother-in-law words always remain a command. The higher the power of the reciter, higher the effectiveness of words. It is all the game of power rather than the words.
Hence, it is the onus of those in power to invest extra care in measuring their words. It can create havoc otherwise.
Use Positive Meaning Words for Your Own Benefit
You must have heard about the famous quote “miracle happens”. Some of you might believe it with your closed eyes (I seriously do). The miracle that we are talking about can happen any moment you allow the positive words to percolate through your mind.
To sense this, why don’t we try this exercise right now:
Look in the mirror and repeat 10 times “I am the worst. I am a loser.” What do you experience – gloom? Worthlessness? Depression?
Take a deep breath.
Now look in the mirror again and repeat 10 times “I am the best. I can do it. And I am happy.” Now feel the changes within you. Nothing has changed in external environment but much has changed within you, although momentarily, but it has changed. And for good. You must be feeling rejuvenated and ready to hit the floor.
What did you do in this exercise? Just pronounced some words to yourself. Positive words exude positivity and negative negativity and positivity is much, incomparably, stronger than negativity. So, be cautious what words you allow your ears to hear out.
It is you who has to decide whether the words you hear are powerful or powerless, whether you want to take it or disregard it, whether you want it to change you for good or for bad. It is all up to you, not to the words.
Words are powerful only when you let it be!!
Shweta Kumari Sharma
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