Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2.
With this simple exchange between Polonius and Hamlet, the efficacy of words is broken down and becomes degraded as meaningless. The repetition of the word “words” suggests that Hamlet doesn’t just describe what he’s reading as meaningless but states the concept of words as just a collection of sounds with no pertinent value. Of course, Hamlet is using this as part of his plan to feign madness, but there’s a valid point to his argument, even in the modern day. Words have the power to sink ships, forge relationships, and are the most critical bridge we use to the world. But why are words and language so important, even in the age of emojis?
The Energy of Certain Words
When we place a significant amount of weight on a word, whether positive or negative, this carries a certain internal energy. People have been using the power of words and internal language for a positive change. In self-development, the notion of positive self-talk is a very crucial component to altering our brain chemistry. The brain, on one level, is unable to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. This is why athletes and business people use positive self-talk to retrain their brain and why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is such an important practice to reshape our attitudes to ourselves.
The Importance of the Right Word in the Right Context
Never has the right word been so important than in the modern world. We are all working remotely and, as a result, choose to liaise with colleagues and friends via text or email. Choosing a certain word may sound good in your head, but on screen, it can run the risk of offending. It's so important to choose the right type of words. This without coming across in the wrong way.
Why Are We Not Placing Language on a Pedestal Anymore?
In one respect, the increasing use of emojis has given way to people communicating a thought or feeling with a simple click of a button. But as a result, we are losing the power of subtlety in language, such as metaphor, and this is seen in many environments, not just in work communications, but in a lack of efficacy in candid conversations. We live in an era of sound bites and 280 characters to put across a point, and we truly stay in our comfort zone. When it comes to a real form of conversation, we might have to learn how to build this muscle up. Words are powerful, but they are one crucial piece of a puzzle, which goes with the inflection in our voice, body language, eye contact, and being aware of our presence when having a conversation with someone.
It has never been more important to learn how we use our words. Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the best, but when we engage with coworkers or speak to loved ones, we have to remember when we are building relationships that our words are what carry the most weight long after we’ve gone. Language is a wonderful tool, and there is always the risk of overusing it, but maybe Shakespeare had a point; that if we use words too much, they lose all meaning. This is why the choice of words becomes so important.
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