The following is an excerpt about the power of words from Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright. This excerpt explains the research methods presented in the book:
“Unlike most research, we weren’t interested in where people came from – what psychologists call their socioeconomic status. We ignored their age, gender, income, and ethnicity. As our research base expanded to include people in Asia, Europe, and Africa we even ignored people’s native language. We didn’t profile their personality type, measure their IQ, or ask about their education level. Rather, our research stems from an ancient way of understanding people: that they – we – create our reality with language… when a person looks out at the world, he sees it filtered through a screen of his words, and this process is as invisible to him as water is to fish. We see the world and our words in one impression, as if we’re looking at a forest through a green filter. We can’t see what’s really green and what’s not. If we were to walk around with the filter in our eye long enough, we’d forget it was there, and life would just be green.”
Have you ever noticed when we’re having a conversation with someone, we often ask ourselves a series of questions: Have I heard this before?, Do I agree with what this person is saying?, Have I been in a similar situation?, Do I have anything to add to this story that this person is not considering?
We all do it.
We all occasionally stop listening to people and drift off into our own thoughts about the conversation. Instead of listening to the person, we listen to ourselves. Next time this happens, think of the quote above and bring yourself back to the present conversation. Listen to everything that person is saying to you.
As humans, words are what we use to express our whole world to one another.
Everything you could ever want to know about someone, you will hear in their words and feel in their language. When we stop saying to ourselves “I know this already,” and really listen to those around us, we will begin to learn amazing things about each other and our human race will grow and flourish.
Never underestimate the knowledge that is embedded in people’s words, it is everything they are, everywhere they have been, and everything they wish to be.