Words play a vital role in a person’s life.
We negotiate the wilderness of our social environment with words and language. In words we find the power to make sense of this world.
Because words play such a vital role in our lives, the ability to master the use of words becomes a key life skill.
This involves cultivating the art of conversation. Most times all it takes to solve a pressing problem, launch out on a path to success, or develop fruitful relationships, is a conversation.
Walking through life equipped with the tool of words makes navigating this hard old world so much easier.
In this 21st century global village, communication technology – built on typing textual words – opens up the world to any individual connected to the world wide web.
Sad it is that so many people suffer life’s “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” – as Shakespeare’s Hamlet describes the trials and travails of living in this world – with bitter results.
If only every human being could learn the art of conversation, of the use of words and language. Yet, so many people refuse to engage in this exercise of talking things through. A lot of the violence and conflict in the world could end if people only choose to talk out their differences.
Diplomats, of course, play politics with “diplomatic talk”. This kind of wordplay fails, simply because it lacks authenticity.
Words have to be used with authenticity of heart, a kind of spiritual reaching out to others, instead of looking for selfish gain.
Diplomacy frequently fails at this life skill, but a lot of people also have not developed the art at all, and thus remain unable to master the use of words and language. These folks suffer life’s travails like dummies under attack.
Functional literacy has spread across the globe, and today most people are able to read and write.
In fact, doomsayers who predicted the death of writing at the electronic hand of digital communication have shut up.
Writing has never ever been as popular as it is today.
Young kids text for hours and hours a day. Email and social media traffic continues to burgeon. It all involves writing. All over the world cell phones continue to open up every corner of the globe, with more than five billion mobile devices in our world at last count.
And more people text on cell phones than they talk. In Africa, small twitter-like texts dominate how people use their cell phones. It’s cheap and easy.
Writing and text-based communication has become a global phenomenon.
Discounting the abuse of grammar and spelling and sentence construction and these technicalities, writing has never been more popular and promising. Our world builds its global foundation on the alphabet and textual communication.
Writing thus plays a vital role in this world of words.
As author of a little book called “Clockwork Muse”, Eviatar Zerubavel, says, “It is almost impossible to live in the modern world and not have to write”.
Cultivating this lifestyle of writing out words could be the single most important key to unlock a successful life. For nearly everything involves some form of writing.
Even to build a building, a plan has to be written out and a blueprint drawn up.
To design one’s life, writing out a life plan becomes necessary.
To shop for food, most people write out a grocery list.
We write cards and emails to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
To chat with our online friends, we write, typing words.
Writing is such a fundamental necessity in our world, and we do it almost unconsciously, be it to scribble a note here or there, or send off an email or a text message, or to update our social media status.
So if we consciously employ this method of writing to every area of our life, we would see dramatic results.
To live a fit and healthy life, write out a health plan. Even without following the plan, just having it as a map or guidepost achieves a lot.
The same with developing our inner values, or dealing with our finances, or growing in intellect. Writing out a plan for each area is a powerful step to achieve success beyond mere wishes.
Reality has a lot to do with writing things out.
So a key life skill is to consciously develop the habit of writing things out. Writing out thoughts, intentions, plans, dreams, goals and aspirations sets a person on the road to making real whatever starts in the imagination.
The next step from writing things out is designing. Design thinking, made popular after Edward de Bono’s ground-breaking work and books, has become an important tool in today’s world.
But before design could start, there must be writing.
Writing involves the simple act of recording text on paper or electronic screen. Writing is evolving to become free of its technicalities, such as grammar and spelling and so on. Once meaning is conveyed, writing achieves its goal.
This understanding of the goal of writing, as the conveyer of inner intention rather than a technical skill, may have originated in the work of James Joyce, whose books ‘Finnegans Wake’ and ‘Ulysses’ arguable make up the best novels ever written in English.
So writing does not involve all the formalities that professional writers employ in their work.
Just write things out, wherever and whenever. Such a habit becomes a valuable life skill, and a tool for achieving results.
Writing is wrapped up with planning. Most of us write because we plan.
We could achieve very little unless we plan first, and planning involves writing.
A life lived with careful planning and constant writing is a life well-lived.
Too many people in this world refuse to plan or write out their dreams and aspirations, and thus so many folks live unfulfilled lives.
As our nation looks to the future, let us cultivate the art of being writers, a writing people who plan our days and our lives, using words to design our way forward.
Each individual could thus use the tool of words to make a positive, transformational difference in this land.