What you don’t say matters most …

What you say matters … but what you don’t say matters most …

Words have an incredible power to bite.

We live in the land of free speech, but the things that we say come at a price. A debt that both the deliverer and the recipient bear.

This is not news. We all know this. We’re all human. We’ve all felt the sting. We’ve all experienced the regret of throwing a verbal dagger.

Words are also very sticky.

I’m 45 years old, and have been blessed with the ability to build what most would consider a very nice life for myself, my wife, and my kids. I’m fit. I have a strong marriage. I have great kids. I have great friends. I have a great business … etc.
“Da crooked” … that’s what I was called in middle school … because I was pigeon-toed. I can still hear it. I still have a very real and very visceral reaction to it. I remember the names and faces. It STILL hurts.

… if I only had a DeLorean that could hit 88 mph …

Here’s the kicker though, and this is what is so often missed …

The things that you DON’T SAY matter even more.

Your words have a nearly unmatchable, and unbelievable ability to inspire and to elevate. A single sentence can literally transform a life.

Your words have the power to turn desperation into hope.
Your words have the power to turn loneliness into community.
Your words have the power to turn the unknown into the known.
Your words have the power to turn insecurity into confidence.
Your words have the power to turn tears into laughter.

What’s more? … the ripple effect. Remember the children’s book “Because a Little Bug went Ka-ChOO!”?

The life that you impact then impacts others … and others … and others.

Sometimes the transformed life is that of someone close to you.
Sometimes the transformed life is that of a complete stranger.
Sometimes the transformed life is yours.
Sometimes the impact is HUGE.
Sometimes it’s just a smile.

The cost of a kind word of encouragement, or an unexpected compliment? … zero
The payoff? … exponential

Here’s the thing … There is no payoff if the words never make it from your thoughts, past your lips and into existence.

You have to say them.

This hit home for me during a recent trip to Andy’s Frozen Custard.

Lindsey (my wife) and I were waiting in a drive through line with all of the kids when she commented on how much she liked the woman’s hair in the car next to us.

I told her to roll down the window and tell her.

Lindsey hesitated for a sec, and then we got the kids involved in the discussion … before we could come to a consensus, the lines shifted and we were never side by side with “nice hair lady” again.

We missed the opportunity.
“Nice hair lady” never heard a compliment that at a minimum would have made her smile, had the potential to change the trajectory of her day … and who knows, maybe more.

It would have made us smile too. It would have elevated our day. It would have been a wonderful example to our kids.

But we didn’t act, and the opportunity to create something from nothing … to literally speak positivity and elevation into existence passed us by.

Damn.
I’ll have you consider that there are no less than 20 opportunities a day to act …

Do not let the opportunity pass you by.

Don’t be lazy.
Don’t be embarrassed.
Put yourself out there.
Be an example.
Change a moment.
Change a day.
Change a life.
Do not let the opportunity pass you by.

You like someone’s shoes? Tell them.
You like their hair? Tell them.
You think they’re funny? Tell them.
You think they’re smart. Tell them.
They’re always kind? Tell them.
Tell them.
Tell them.
Tell them.

Your family.
Your friends.
Your co-workers.
Your clients.
Complete strangers.

Yes, men … you too.

It matters.

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