Learn New Words or New Languages; Be More Successful
“The most beautiful word I ever heard is estacionamiento.
It’s Spanish. After I learned to say elegantly, musically,
I found out what it means: parking lot.”
Joe Bob Briggs, the humorist
Like how it sounds? Know what it means! Favorite words can help you learn new words, foreign and not, in a new way. All you need to do is to keep your eyes open (well, ears, really) for anything that sounds awesome but has no meaning to you, then find the definition or translation, and associate it with the awesomeness of that word. Use these new words in your speech or writing. It won’t take long until you notice how your language has been enriched and how you are beginning to impress people with your enhanced vocabulary. It all starts with finding new words you love.
Words are the building blocks of knowledge and literacy in any field or endeavor. Increasing one’s vocabulary increases clarity, which, in turn, leads to empowerment. In short, a good vocabulary enriches your life and supports you in moving forward with your dreams.
Vocabulary and Success
Vocabulary is the key to an individual’s success. Johnson O’Connor, an American psychometrician, an educator, and a researcher, was an advocate for vocabulary’s importance. General Electric hired O’Connor to study and test the company’s successful employees and discover which traits they had in common that made them good at their jobs. Through his research, he discovered that a person’s vocabulary level was the best single measure for predicting occupational success in every area. In other words, an understanding of not only general language but also of the words specific to the activity was the factor that most distinctly separated the unsuccessful from the successful. According to O’Connor, the reason seems to be that words are the tools with which we think and with which we grasp others’ thoughts. Furthermore, vocabulary is not innate and can be acquired by everybody. O’Connor considered vocabulary augmentation to be a major key to unlocking a person’s potential. His later research included an effort to catalogue the most important words to know ordered by difficulty. His discovery was then amplified by Margaret E. Broadley in her book, Your Natural Gifts: How to Recognize and Develop Them for Success and Self-Fulfillment (Epm Pubns Inc, 1991.)
O’Connor’s theories became popular with contemporary thought leaders, like Robert Kiyosaki, a famous author and educator with over 13 million copies of his books sold across the world. He writes, “If you want to be rich, you have to have a rich man’s vocabulary. Words can make you rich, or can make you poor.”
Our social experience can mostly be boiled down to communicating with others. The main form of communication is speech, or language. When we don’t know a person, we can quickly make an assessment about their culture, education level, social background, origin, and more once they start to speak or when we read what they’ve written.
Well-known Russian writer Lev Tolstoy (author of: War and Peace, 1869) noted that using the language “somehow,” that is, carelessly, means thinking the same way: inaccurately, approximately, and roughly. Fast speech is hard to follow, slow speech challenges patience.
Even an interesting discussion loses a lot if a companion’s language is poor and the used words are coarse, improper, or careless.
Historically, the most successful people have been outstanding writers and/or extraordinary speakers. The explanation is simple: to have others follow you or support your beliefs, you need to be capable of explaining things using a language that’s easy to understand, interesting to listen to or read, and, at the same time, very convincing. You need to be good with words. As put by popular actor, comedian, author, and film producer Steve Martin, “Some people have a way with words, and other people…oh, uh, not have way.”
How to have a way with words? All you need to do is enrich your vocabulary. The larger your vocabulary, the more concise you can be. The more words you learn and know in a certain area, the more chances of success you have. Just learn the professional vocabulary and try to explore each term’s meaning, find examples of use, and understand how it is used. You can’t use a word if you don’t know its meaning; in turn, opportunities to know something about a new topic are lost.
Let’s take a work example from my life as a search engine optimization specialist (SEO), which I’ve been practicing for over a decade. Words play a vital role in this area. We call them keywords. Professionals in my field don’t need to understand the field for which they are working because they have access to all the keywords. We can easily research keywords’ popularity, value, and relevance. Thus, we know which keywords are important for which to optimize the website and bring in more traffic, achieving high conversion. But we need to know SEO terms to be successful. Without knowing understanding the significance of acronyms like CPC, ROI, CPA, SMO, and PPC, we cannot succeed.
Keywords are important in predictions and recommendations as well. Google can predict car sales from analyses of search queries, Amazon’s book recommendation system captures consumer preferences by correlating book titles, and the language used by financial commentators helps predict the stock market. At FavoriteWords.com, we are working on collaborative filtration, a system suggesting your most likely favored words based on your other words and the words of users sharing common words with you.
Ralph Fletcher and Donald M. Murray wrote in their book, What a Writer Needs (Heinemann Educational Books, 1992), that our English language contains about 490,000 words, along with another 300,000 technical terms. No one, of course, not even the great writers, can utilize such richness. It has been said that Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of around 33,000 words. In 1945, the average American student between the ages of six and fourteen had a written vocabulary of about 25,000 words. Today, that vocabulary has shrunk to about 10,000 words.
There is a direct dependence on the number of words you know and your success in life. At FavoriteWords.com, people not only expand their lists of favorite words, but stay organized and find reminders for their meaning. They can search for new words using other people’s lists, thus enriching their own vocabularies, which means more opportunities for success.
A word isn’t just a structural piece of language and speech; it’s not just a means of communication: it’s a powerful instrument to influence yourself and others.
NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioners use people’s favorite words as a source of manipulation. For instance, there are three main types of people: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Manipulation and negotiation specialists recommend asking the visual person if they see the opportunity, the auditory person if they want to hear your thoughts, and the kinesthetic person what they feel about it. You can read more about it in The Art of Reading Minds: How to Understand & Influence Others without Them Noticing by Henrik Fexeus (B. Jain Publishers, 2010.)
Being successful and influencing others requires oratorical skills from you. If you have troubles speaking publicly, favorite words can help. Pay attention to the words you love the most and use them to become more confident when speaking.
The part of the brain that is responsible for speech gets formed last. Famous Russian psychologist and the author of the Social Development Theory, Lev Vygotsky, suggested that language plays a central role in mental development. He wrote that “Inner speech is not the interior aspect of external speech – it is a function in itself. It still remains speech, i.e. thought connected with words… Inner speech is to a large extent thinking in pure meanings.”
More from Robert Kiyosaki: “You become your thoughts and your actions. If you say, ‘I can’t do that,’ you become poor, because you have a loser’s mentality. So words again are probably the most important thing you need to be in constant check of yourself.”
With favorite words you can enrich your vocabulary, which will result in stronger social skills and being more successful overall.