Today’s Word: ‘Words’ as in… the 58 words that can change your life.

For over four decades I’ve kept a little piece of paper handy on which are written seven lines. These 58 words, written in the handwriting of a junior high school sweetheart and probably passed to me during Study Hall have remained A Short Course in Human Relations all these years.

  • The six most important words: “I admit that I was wrong.”
  • The five most important words: “You did a great job!”
  • The four most important words: “What do you think?”
  • The three most important words: “Could you please . . .”
  • The two most important words: “Thank you.”
  • The most important word: “We.”
  • The least important word: “I.”

The wisdom written on that well-worn piece of paper has provided a way of living that breathes new life into every relationship every day. Words are powerful. They carry immense weight. They can inform and they can also hurt. They can direct and guide as well as damage and kill. Words can bring life and alter life. But words, once spoken—like toothpaste squeezed from a tube, cannot be put back. Choosing our words wisely can breathe life and more life into every relationship. And kind and gentle words while short and easy to speak can echo endlessly.

So what is it about these 58 words that make their wisdom so enduring? Most likely because the word “you” is used far more often than the word “I” is used. When I continue to make me the center of attention, my relationship with you will struggle to survive. But when my words continue to support, encourage and lift you up, our relationship will continue to thrive.

Consider the power of these seven lines. Take one line each day for the next several days and use it as many times as you can each day. Reflect on how the words impact how you live, speak, think, and treat others. Reflect on how you thrive by using words that give life.


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