A Few Words Are All It Takes

On Saturday I instantly lost six Twitter followers with this four-word tweet. Don’t ask me why, but maybe it offended some people. No big deal.

What is a big deal is when a few words can destroy a lifetime of hard-earned success. Even one word can do it.

It can happen to people who spend decades working on something great, building loyal followers, until one day they say something they really shouldn’t have. It could happen to you.

So just remember:

  • Your words are the extension of your ideas. Great words = great ideas, shoddy words = shoddy ideas. 
  • Everything you say on the web is being recorded for the rest of future history to see.
  • Avoid being reactionary. If something bothers you, just know your immediate response is usually not your best one. Step back and think about how you can tactfully diffuse or avoid the situation, or better yet–accenuate the positive. See: Barack Obama.
  • The right words can make you rich, famous, loved and admired. The wrong words can do the opposite.

And, yes—the pen is still mightier than the sword.

4 Replies

  1. Well…

    I would argue – that if one is too obsessed with the right words, they’ll never make a splash.

    Sometimes controversy can do more good than harm.

    I mean, you may lose some fans in the process. But you’ll gain many more too.

    It really depends though. To be controversial just for the hell of it is foolish in my opinion.

    But if you have a genuine opinion and you think it will do some good to put it out there – then why not?

    Nevertheless – I agree with your overall sentiment. You really have to be careful about your words.

  2. Charles Reply

    I appreciate your comment, Bamboo Forest. Controversy can indeed be healthy, but even then words have to be carefully chosen.

    What I mean to say are words have the power to destroy something so quickly.

    You bring some good insight into this conversation — thanks.

  3. Byteful Traveller Reply

    I am reminded of some wise words I once read:

    “If you don’t offend or challenge anyone, you’re probably writing content that isn’t very memorable or meaningful. If you write what people expect, their minds won’t store it.”

    Can you guess who said that? The point is, it is true. Would you really want 4 followers who are so fickle anyway?

  4. Charles Reply

    Sure, Steve Pavlina said that (I can tell from the very natural style), and you have good point Byteful.

    I appreciate the idea of challenging people — to think or act differently than they are used to. It’s the only way we’ll ever change, because mediocrity can be a slow killer.