The Importance of Words


“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

This is one of my favorite “practical” quotes. I find it so clear because behavior can be molded by its simple truth. Instead of dwelling on petty observations or dislikes, or propagating “gossip,” this quote asks us to use the power of our minds to build, to make dreams come true, to better ourselves.

Discussing great ideas, perhaps from the past, based in history, with the intention to learn, and then to build the future empires of the mind. For it is in the mind where everything begins.

The ability to use words, written or spoken, is uniquely human. We can make the conscious decision to use language to build or destroy. And here is the caveat: Why, even has young children, do we use our ability to communicate in order to hurt? Why do we continually choose the path of sorrow and conflict through discourse? Why do we not give our innate goodness a chance to thrive through language?

Every day is an opportunity for us to use language for the good. These are my suggestions on how to do just that:

We need to break our habits and routines of speaking before thinking.

We need to listen more.

We need to let the other person finish their thought before jumping in with an answer.

We need to be present and not be thinking ahead.

We need to ask ourselves: why is this person telling me this? And to what is the desired outcome?


When we are present and accepting of our ability to discuss great ideas (without discrediting opposing views) then perhaps we will build a better world through words.