No doubt, actions speak louder than words. But what about attitude? Does attitude speak louder than words?
The words we choose wield profound influence, shaping not only our perceptions but the perceptions of others. Just as Eric Clapton crooned in his hit song, “It’s in the Way That You Use It,” (from the movie, The Color of Money), positive language acts as a beacon, lighting the way to understanding, cooperation, and growth. Negative language can do just the opposite.
How we frame our discussions, whether in personal interactions, public discourse, or the workplace, holds the potential to uplift, inspire, and move others to action. Language serves as a potent tool, capable of fostering empathy, building bridges, and transcending barriers.
A Bit Art, A Bit Science
A whole science (Neurolinguistics) has grown up around the study of language and how it affects the brain. While this King Monkey is no expert on the topic, my understanding is that 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. (Think about this on your next Zoom meeting!)
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 (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.
An Example of the Power of Words
Clearly, words and how we choose to deliver those words—our attitudes—matter.
A while back, I came across the following anecdote about the power of the words we choose. While the source is unknown to me, the message (I hope) applies universally:
“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)”
By recognizing the power of our words and the way we deliver them, we gain insight into how to navigate personal relationships, professional settings, and societal discourse more effectively. Just as a small change in tone or phrasing can drastically alter the meaning of a message, so too can our attitudes shape the perceptions and responses of those around us.
In other words (pun intended), through our choice of language and attitude we can either build bridges or erect barriers. By embracing a mindset of compassion and choosing our words thoughtfully, we have the opportunity to inspire understanding, cooperation, and growth in ourselves and in others.
Let’s Get Creative
How do the words you choose for the content on your website, social media posts, and other promotional materials convey a message of positivity and action about your brand?
From developing websites, digital marketing campaigns, and inspired content, Barrel O’Monkeyz can act as your seasoned, outsourced marketing team. Our barrel is full of talent and creative minds ready to prove we don’t just monkey around! Contact Barrel O’Monkeyz Today