I have been obsessively highlighting dictionaries since I was around 8. To me, the dictionary is like an enormous storybook, full of secret messages and historical intrigue.
It is an adventure to discover the interconnectivity of words and, in turn, ideas. I find it fascinating to uncover the common origins of words, particularly when the meanings refer to completely disparate things.
But, mostly, I love the way words sound. My favorite word in middle school was “prodigious.” It seemed a regal word, as it smoothly rolls off the tongue with its combination of soft consonants and vowels.
To me, taking words and organizing them into sentences is somewhat the essence of being: it is our method of control in a chaotic world yet its fundamental value lies in expression and its relation to thought. Words are the building blocks of how we express what we understand about the world, ourselves, and each other.
Like music, words are the most powerful when we allow ourselves to be moved by them, get lost in them, and allow them to directly stimulate our thoughts and imagination. According to Romantic poets like Wordsworth and Shelley (whom you'll end up hearing a lot about if you stick with me), this is the moment at which artistic inspiration occurs.
This passion for language, art, and learning is why I’ve started this blog and why I recently started my own company.
I’ve seen too many people, including myself, floundering in professional and personal limbo. Why? They feel trapped and therefore unmotivated. The job market is tough. But, I firmly believe that people, both children and adults, are happiest when they exist in an environment that encourages continual learning, curiosity, and individual expression.
Finding your outlet is possible even within the confines of an extremely stressful job or life situation. Sometimes, you just have to step back and evaluate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what it means.
In my mind, everything comes down to messaging. We live in a world of language that is driven by content and delivery. When you fire off a quick text to a friend, you’re taking an idea and presenting it to your friend in a particular way. When you send off a “no” to the wedding invite of your ex-boyfriend, you’re making a decision and communicating it.
For professionals, the importance of messaging is why resumes are critical (see my article on multiple resumes). For individuals, we message ourselves, our beliefs, and our intentions every time we say, write, or gesture anything.
This is all what makes words fundamental but also dangerous. Drive your words carefully: they are powerful.