In a previous entry I talked about the importance of saying what you mean and how if we choose the wrong words our message can be radically different.
Just what’s in a word?
To illustrate just what difference a word can make I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite jokes as a child.
Three men were given the death sentences and are scheduled to be shot at dawn.
The next morning the first man is brought out and was the first to face them.
He thought furiously how he could save his life, and as the command: “Ready, aim…” was given he shouted, “Earthquake!”
Terrified as such a natural disaster, the firing squad ran away and the man escaped.
When the next man’s turn came, following the success of his fellow prisoner, as the command: “Ready, aim” was given he shouted, “Hurricane.”
Again, the firing squad panicked and ran for cover giving the man time to escape.
The third man smiled as he was led to the execution spot knowing how easily he would be able to escape.
As the command was given, “Ready, aim…” the man shouted “Fire.”
I know it’s a rather corny joke but the message is clear – in life, the smallest of differences can make all the difference.
Too often we think that if we just focus on the big issues that we’ll be ok.
But every big issue is simply made up of lots of small parts.
Imagine an airplane, it’s made up of thousands of little nuts and bolts and, if you’ve ever seen a cockpit you know it has hundreds of buttons all of which are needed to fly the plane.
Would you mind if the engineer left off a few bolts here and there?
What about if the aircraft company chose to cut corners and skip a few buttons?
Our words are just as important as those buttons and bolts.
One wrong word and the whole message can be misunderstood.
Choose your words carefully, you’ll be glad you did.