No doubt, actions speak louder than words. But what about attitude? Does attitude speak louder than words?

A whole science (Neurolinguistics) has grown up around the study of language and how it affects the brain. This King Monkey is no expert on the topic, but it boils down to the notion of how you say something—the specific words you choose—making a big difference in how you’re perceived and how others respond to you. Toss in a little body language for good measure, and you can see where “words” and “attitude” can have a big impact on our relationships with others at work and at play.

Consider this very simple example of how, with just a little inflection or attitude, I can change the entire meaning of two spoken words.

  • Imagine me saying the following to you slowly and calmly: “Don’t. Stop.” Most likely, you’d (rightly) guess I was telling you “Don’t do that. Stop that.”
  • Now, if I were to say those same words quickly, with no pause in-between—“Don’t Stop!”—the phrase takes on an entirely new meaning (“Don’t stop what you’re doing!”) and impacts you differently.

That’s just two words. Just imagine applying this same notion to complex interactions between people at home, in the workplace, even on the national political stage (but that’s a whole other topic!). It’s easy to see how our “monkey chatter” can be misconstrued, and how we often don’t get the responses from others we intended or desired.

Words and how you deliver those words—your attitude—matter.

The other day, I came across the following blurb about “Being Positive” and the power of the words we choose. While the source is unknown, the words apply universally  . . . at least that’s my hope!

“Your attitude doesn’t affect just you, but also everyone around you. An Army private was serving apricots in the chow line to other soldiers. When the first hundred soldiers went through the line, he asked, ‘You don’t want any apricots, do you?’ Only 10% said they did. When the next hundred soldiers came through the line, he changed the question and asked, ‘Would you like some apricots?’ When he asked it this way, 50% of the soldiers wanted them. He asked the next hundred soldiers who came through the line, ‘Would you like one bowl of apricots or two?’ This time, 50% of the soldiers wanted one bowl and 40% wanted two bowls!

“What changed? The apricots didn’t change, but the way they were perceived did change. It changed from something they didn’t want to something that was so good they wanted more.

“Your attitude and the way you talk about people affects others in the same way—either positively or negatively.  … The apostle Paul said it like this, ‘Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, let your mind dwell on these things.’ (Phil. 4:8)”


This week, I’m attending the quarterly “Boot Camp Reunion for Executives in Transition.” I am one of the founding members of this group that, for more than two years, has hosted more than 400 senior executives—some of whom are in transition and some who are not. All participants have undertaken a 30-day course with two of my clients, Platinum Resource Group ( and All Star Executive Coaching ( Collectively and as individuals, we all try to pay it forward by helping out each other as well as others.

    Next week finds me in Salt Lake City for the “Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow,” August 4 to 7. For those not familiar with Outdoor Retailer, their tradeshows provide a focused and targeted forum for the outdoor specialty industry, showcasing outdoor companies and attracting national and international dealers big and small. ( While there, I plan to visit a client, Sage Hills Retreat Center, and stay at their place for a night. So here’s a shout-out to them! (