I once believed that actions were everything.
I’d often hear that phrase “actions speak louder than words” and I gradually convinced myself that words meant nearly nothing. That phrase really spoke to me! It makes sense that the best (written) movies are silent. I was so convinced with the complete power of actions that even when I knew words were valuable, I still talked of how words pale in comparison. Nothing is as true as what happens and what has happened.
One day I started realizing that people sometimes actually felt this way about my words. I couldn’t believe it. How could someone say that about my words? They must not know me. Or.. this phrase got to them too!
I take my words – in any form – very seriously, so in light of these sparse injustices, I realized that although well-intentioned I’m sure, this phrase “actions speak louder than words” was really giving words a bad rep! It was dampening the default meaning of words across the world! No!! We must restore value to the word!
Until graduating from teenager, words as I knew them were great for a few things. First, describing emotion – I liked this one. Second, coordinating day-to-day general logistics – a necessary evil. And lastly – most fun – for adding flavor spice. Just, they weren’t so great for other people’s longer-term plans and promises. As the world turns, I’ve been disappointed by people selling general sets of spoken words arranged as optimistic plans, only to fizzle out into unexecuted action. I’m not talking about a lie (malice obviously claiming the highest degree of deception). I’m talking about not following through with the understood intention of words expressed. Getting someone’s hopes up, only to fall short.
To me, this kind of unfulfilling hypocrisy is the dominating reason why words truly lose their value. This is when some sets of words become meaningless. When someone’s words are unreliable, he or she is unreliable. Eventually, enough broken promises and unachieved goals lead to hollow words and damaged trust. But of course words can grow just as strong as they can wither weak.
When I was 27, I got into some serious writing in the rainforests of Costa Rica. I had a great topic to write about (life after “death” – inquire within) and I wanted to explore more of the word. I also wanted to explore more of the world. I love how one letter can completely change a sentence. I’ve found that just like exploring new terrain and immersing into new cultures, so do the landscapes of words open our eyes, expand our mind, and unlock our world to new perspectives.
This serious writing of the word led to more serious talking of the word. I started giving more life to the words I spoke – more weight. Save for some sarcasm, my general principle is to say only what is honest and intentional – meaning, I do my best to execute on what I say I will do, otherwise I better have a dang good excuse why I didn’t.
To me it’s clear, that while actions may often speak louder than words, words have value too.
Words can dig graves for trust to be buried, or they can erect mountains of prosperity for all the world to appreciate. Words stretch the limits of our vocabulary and our imagination. How far will a rubber word band stretch before it’s no longer elastic?
Writing words helps me work through concepts and strengthen beliefs.
These words have helped me decide that the value of words depend on their smith.
Craft on crafty one and keep it real. Your words have value if you allow them to.