I recently added a “Quote of the Day” app to my phone, hoping to find some additional inspiration. Most days the quote is at the very least thought provoking, but some days have been more inspiring than others. This quote from today surprised me.
“You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone.”
– Al Capone
Do you agree?
Considering the source, this mindset seems most appropriate for those with little regard for decency and civility.
I think this quote is about influence and “Power” … but what is Power?
I think most men enjoy the feeling of power. I know I feel good when I believe that I have some influence on other people or things. I think a desire for power and influence is natural. I would even say it is an inbred trait that we are meant to have. By feeling driven to become as powerful as possible, we strengthen the likelihood that we are able to sustain our lives and the lives of those we care for. Power is not a bad thing in and of itself.
However, when you introduce a sense of disrespect or invincibility into the equation, you find that power can be very dangerous indeed.
Abraham Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
With power comes a great deal of responsibility. Each decision a person makes has much more influence and impact when he is in a position of power. It is the hope of those that are under that influence that he is acting honorably. What does this mean for you when it comes to your wife, your children, and your co-workers or employees?
And what about the words?
It seems sometimes that those in a position of power, forget that there is power in their words. They forget that what they say, along with what they do, greatly impacts their influence. Worse yet is when they forgo the influence of words altogether, choosing instead the more heavily handed actions that they confuse with power. Much is lost when this transpires.
Ludwig Wittgenstein said “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
Is it fair to say then that someone with limited capabilities in speaking and using words will ultimately be limited in his potential? I would propose that there are very few, if any, powerful leaders in business, military, government, or religion, who do not know the power and influence of their words.
So what does this all mean for today’s Upright Man?
We live our lives, doing the best we can, trying to gain as much influence and “power” as we are able. Is this all in vain? Are we losing the significance of our efforts because of our words?
It has been well documented how our language can impact and affect our success and our influence. Virtual Mentor Michael Hyatt says “If you can’t be interesting without profanity, then let’s face it: you’re not that interesting.”
Science even postulates that words actually change your physiology, just as Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, who make this claim in their book, Words Can Change Your Brain.
Whether it is positive vs negative vocabulary, clean vs dirty language, or strong vs weak grammar, our words have a lasting impact on how we are perceived and received. Anyone hoping to gain power and influence, be it in the boardroom, family room, or wedded bedroom, should be very mindful of what they say and how they say it.
The upright man does not aspire to power for the sake of unrighteous authority. The power and influence he would gain by force will never compete with the power he gains from proper and respectful language, respectfully distributed with an understanding of the impact each word will make. Will he make mistakes? Certainly! But that should not dissuade the Upright Man from striving to hone a way of speaking which elevates and postures him in all he does.
This means that taking a break from appropriate language during a workout or pickup game should not be acceptable, slipping into disrespectful or demeaning conversation during intimacy should never happen, and raising ones voice or using demeaning words to force their point to children or those deemed as “weak” or “lesser” is not something that should ever feel appropriate.
The Upright Man realized and recognizes that he has the ability to continuously strengthen his position in both the way he acts and the way he speaks.
My challenge to you is to identify just Five ways you can change and improve your words. Can you clean them up? Can you eliminate some? Can you strengthen the sincerity and meaning of them? If you challenge yourself to make these improvements, starting today, I promise you will feel a change. You will feel more confident, have more surety, feel less regret, and gain more clarity in who you are and what you stand for. Furthermore, I promise that those you have influence or power over, will begin to feel more respect for you, and begin to act more receptive to you.
Developing yourself into an Upright Man is as simple as taking little steps, one day at a a time, until you find the man you once were is looking up to the man you are becoming. Use the power of your words to begin crafting that man today.
Question: What do you think is the most influential change a man can make? Leave a comment below.