The Power of Words

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Remember at the start of the Harry Potter saga when Harry was taken to get his wand? The shopkeeper searched his "stock", had Harry try several different makes and models so to speak until he found the perfect match. In Harry's hands, that properly fit wand made a powerful tool.

Words are just like that wand. In the right hands, words have an amazing power. Consider these words.

"I have a dream!"

Just four little words but what power they held when first spoken many years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr. Words that have shaped a nation and still stir us today. Words that I'm sure will never be forgotten.

Or what about "I love you." or "I hate you." "Thank you." and "Please"? Words that when spoken can either lift a person to amazing heights or plunge them into despair.

And let's not forget about the Imus fiasco. With just a few words he stirred things up all across our nation, lost his job and earned the scorn of many people. Once spoken, words can never be unsaid.

Written words are just as powerful. For example, an interview with Angela, WOW! founder and CEO was posted yesterday at LunarPages.

Tiara did a great job interviewing Angela. Her questions were thoughtful, the answers given were inspiring and encouraging. Yet, three little words meant to be light and fun caused things to get blown WAY out of proportion. It wouldn't have taken much to get a comment war started.

I think many times we take words for granted. But they truly are powerful tools in the right hands. Words stir our souls and empower us. They uplift and encourage. Words take us to times and places we may never see in person.

Yet, when misused words can tear apart families and hurt those we love the most. Words have the power to divide nations and ruin lives.

So today, I want us to do two things:--) That's right...I have an assignment for you. First, share what words encourage or empower you with the rest of us. Got a favorite saying or quote...then share it in the comment section.

Next, head on over to LunarPages and read Tiara's interview with Angela. Here's the link. Then, comment and let Tiara know what a great job she did.


Oh...I found my empowering words on the wall of a used car salesman years ago. Now, it's on my wall and in my sig. line at StoryCrafters. "Only he who attempts the ridiculous can achieve the impossible."


Sue said...

Jean, magnificent post! You said it so well. Words have so much more power to evoke action and emotion--both positive and negative--than people or writers can anticipate. It's actually an intriguing controversy that brewed on the side. But as long as we get back to the initial intent and purpose, and where it began with the interview, that's fine.

Yes, Tiara did a great job; it's a wonderful interview. It brought out many good facts about WOW! and Angela. Thanks, Jean.

Anonymous said...

I love this assignment! I hope others post. Many words inspire me. One of my favorite authors is James Baldwin, for his writing resounds with unflinching honesty and compassion. Here's a quote of his I found meaningful:

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.

James Baldwin

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Words are more powerful than many people realize. And sometimes what we say (or write) is not understood in the way we intended it to be.

I had this conversation with my son two days ago. He was writing a thank you note to a professional photographer who had spent the day with him, doing an informational interview about how he started his company.

By the way my son ordered his words and the choice of words he used, the note sounded like he was saying that the photographer was lucky to spend his time advising my son.

Hmmm...not exactly the right way to thank someone for their time.

The lesson my son learned was to reread what he wrote through the eyes of his intended reader.

Though, in the case of Angela's interview, Tiara couldn't possibly have anticipated that an off-hand comment would be such a hot button for some readers.

Which I guess goes to prove that you can't please all of the people all of the time.

And sometimes, it's just more interesting when you don't. ;)

Chynna said...

Thanks for this post, Jean. I thought the interview Tiara did was great.

I learned a great lesson on the power of words too. Here's the link to my blog entry about it:

This is an awesome assignment, Jean and I'm going to come back to post some quotes later. =o)


Jean said...


Those are some really deep words. They deserve some careful thought:-) I like quotes like that though.

One of the problems when communicating online is we can't see the body language or facial expressions that give words a lot of their meaning. The same words can have a different impact when said with a smile vs. said with a glare or frown.

I guess that's why smilies are so popular:-)

Sue said...

I almost forgot to do my assignment! But here are a few quotes:

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”
--Anais Nin

"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."
--Chinese Proverb

"There is no perfect time to write. There is only now."
--Barbara Kingsolver

Thanks for this idea, Jean. It forced me to look back into some quotes I'd forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I found this poem when I was in high school and liked it so much I typed it out, trimmed the page down to a small square of text, and kept it in my wallet for years.

I know the assignment asked for quotes, but this poem has always been an inspiration for me--a reminder to keep striving toward my goals.

DREAMS by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Angela Mackintosh said...


Your quote from Anais Nin reminded me of a quote of hers I've used ever since high school:

"A big enough artist, I say; can eat anything, must eat everything and then alchemize it. Only a feeble artist is afraid of expansion."

- Anais Nin

I always used this quote to motivate me, to try everything at least once, and to keep my mind open.

This is a great post Jean! A few words can move mountains!

Danette Haworth said...

Great interview, great summary of tips with links.

I posted there and I'll say it here: It's true--Angela is very pretty! Hearing the interviewer say that did not in any way detract from my perception of the interview subject. I often see that line when public figures are interviewed . . . I mean, when attractive public figures are interviewed.

I know what the poster meant, but I saw no problem here. It's like when you see a friend and you say, "Wow! You look good today!"

Anonymous said...

Great post Jean!Thank you for this summary of tips with links.

Anonymous said...

It's so true. Whenever I'm struggling to get on with a current project I take some time out to read one of the books I keep on hand to get me re-inspired. I try to read about other people who are living in ways that make me want to reconnect with what I love to do and it almost always works!

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