My son, Chris, came over last night and we rewatched The Last Emperor. We came to the part where Peter O’Toole, playing the teacher, Reginald Johnston, assigned to the Emperor, was teaching him English. In that scene, Peter was making a point that there are many ways to say something and a deep understanding of the language facilitates a greater ability to truly communicate what is on your mind.
This struck a chord in me because I love words (go figure!) and the choice of them in constructing a thought or expressing anything of substance, is of great value when trying to be exquisite in communicating to others.
During the week, how often are we asked by either strangers, business relationships, friends or family the basic question…. How are you doing? Or any of the other variations like How’s it goin’? What’s up? How are things? etc.
Robotically, we answer….. good. Or if you grew up with my mom, you would respond, “I am doing well, thank you.” But all of this is talking in our sleep. Pleasantries to get past the salutation and segue into the meat of whatever discussion you are truly about to have with the person.
So I invite you to try an experiment this week. Take a collection of less predictable, but totally acceptable responses to use as an alternate response and watch their face (if in person or on video chat) or listen to their response when you are on the phone, when they ask you the proverbial question, How are you doing?
Jubilant – feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.
Exultant – triumphantly happy
Exhilarated – very happy, animated, or elated
Excited – very enthusiastic and eager
Overjoyed – extremely happy
Triumphant – having won a battle or contest; victorious
Euphoric – characterized by or feeling intense excitement and happiness
Ecstatic – feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement.
Elated – ecstatically happy
Joyful – feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness
Exuberant – filled with or characterized by a lively energy and excitement
After awhile, many of these words are just synonyms for much of the same package of emotions. BUT…. When you substitute one of them for the word, “good” as your packaged response, you break the rhythm of the conversation. People are not expecting Jubilant. Most do not even know what it means. But they suddenly sense something about you is different, unique. They might ask about the word, or acknowledge it’s use by repeating it, as in… Jubilant? Wow, that’s great! Or they may ignore it because they do not know what it means and do not wish to show that lack of knowledge.
None of the responses matter completely. More important, you have identified yourself as unique, intelligent and interested in something more than the “What’s up? Not much.” kind of banter.
Words are beautiful and understanding more of them colors the world we (you) live in. So much of what I have to write professionally has to be dumbed down for the intended audience. I think one of the things that became most addictive to me about these musings is not dumbing anything down. If people read what I write, great. If not, that’s fine too. If they understand it, great. If they don’t they can look it up, or not. It doesn’t matter because there is no product, service or entertainment to sell in my musings. Just concepts to share with anyone who chooses to tune in. And that privilege you have extended to me that enables me to say what I mean, is very valuable to me. Thank you.
Lessons From The Mountain: Changing the world, one thought at a time.
Lessons From The Mountain: Changing the world, one thought at a time. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096LYB7PK/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_api_glt_57Q71JXQVA48GAYXHMRX