“In the beginning was the word.” Those of us familiar with the Bible or the Vedas would be familiar with this statement. All words are sounds. Aum, the divine word of creation is sound. And sound is energy. We have the power to create with words. We can create confusion. We can create clarity and order too. We can create love or hate. We can create war or peace by choosing our words accordingly. We create our experiences and the reality we're experiencing through our words.
Words are mighty tools of power and control used by the power centers governing this reality. Politicians use words to create public opinions. Words play a critical role in the machinations of the legal system. Media creates popular sentiments with their sensational headlines and ever-flickering breaking news ticker at the bottom of your television screens.
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You are the sum of your information, and a large portion of this information comes to you as words. Words play a much bigger role in our lives than we care to understand.
Words carry energy. The word ‘coffee’ creates a certain kind of mood in the boardroom and another kind of feeling on a chilly, winter morning. The energy of words affect the way our brain functions, and, as a result, affect our lives.
We do not have to refer to the big and complex books on neuroscience to know that human brain is a bag of chemicals. The brain communicates with itself by sending out chemical information from one neuron to another. These chemicals carry out the daily functions – generating movement, speaking, thinking, listening, regulating the systems of the body, and countless others.
Feelings and emotions that people experience are produced through chemical changes in the brain. The ‘rush’ of happiness that a person feels at getting a promotion, or winning a contest, or reuniting with a loved one occurs via complex chemical processes. So are emotions, such as sadness, grief, and stress. When the brain tells the body to do something, such as to sit down or run, this too sets a chemical process into motion. These ‘chemical communicators’, or neurotransmitters, are the ‘words’ that make up the language of the brain and the entire nervous system.
The words that we hear, read, and speak trigger chemical processes in the brain. How we feel, think, react/respond, and experience life are the direct result of words we use or come into contact with in our daily lives.
From the time of striving to create a work-life balance, we've moved into the times of work-life integration. People spend a large portion of their life at work, in building a career, and in creating a name for themselves through the work they do. In this quest for success, what decides the fate of our lives could very well be words. Therefore, it is of prime importance to understand the power of words and their influence in shaping our lives and careers. This understanding would reform our approach towards words and language. Here are three fascinating and fun ways to explore words:
Be it the word you are absolutely familiar with or a new word you just came into contact with, try doing a quick research on the origins of that word. Researching a word will lead you to fascinating revelations. It will surprise you with its results. Say, isn’t it fascinating to know that the word ‘ignorance’ is actually not what it is perceived to mean in mainstream consciousness? Ignorance is not the lack of information; it is the lack of information due to willful ignorance – one is ignorant by choice, by willfully ignoring information. The right word to be used in place of ignorance is ‘nescience’ – ‘ne’ meaning ‘no’, and ‘science’ that comes from the Latin word ‘Scire’ which means ‘to know’. Understanding the true meaning of words will improve the quality of thought. If our thoughts are good and ordered, our actions will be good and ordered too.
When we speak or write a mail, we do so with an accompanying mood. If you observe closely, you will be able to see how the result of our actions is being influenced by the setting or the mood at the time when we did the act. You're more likely to go wrong when your emotions are in imbalance. Therefore it is critical to keep your mind clear when focusing on critical work decisions. Try to stay in a positive mood at the workplace (beating the morning traffic by leaving home early or taking public transportation could keep you safe from the city's horrendous traffic to keep you in a good mood when you start your work day) lest you speak or write in anger and create a bad mood for others at work.
If words can influence our brain function, it’s rather perplexing to note that auto antonyms (words that are their own antonyms) exist. For example, the word ‘Oversee’ can mean ‘to watch over’, and it can also mean ‘to completely miss the point’. Wouldn't auto-antonyms cause misfiring of neurons in our brain and create confusion in the way we think?
Words are tools that we use to build our lives and careers. The right understanding of these tools will ensure that what we build is truly strong, beautiful, and of value to others.