“Our life is frittered away by detail . . .simplify, simplify.” ~Henry David Thoreau~
There are great written masterpieces that have been scripted over the years. They have woven their way into societies and have become the bedrock of cultures around the world. There have been transformational speeches that have been inked and articulated that have deeply moved people to overcome impossible challenges.
There were 4543 words in the original constitution and an additional 1458 words in the Declaration of Independence. There are 783,137 words in the King James Bible. Great literary works such as War and Peace, The Great Gatsby and Hamlet consists of thousands of carefully crafted words which inspire, confound and create new thought.
But when you think about words that change the world, I think about simple statements – phrases – that move, inspire, invoke, and create change within a person. One of the most famous speeches ever spoken was on August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King’ passionate – 17 minute – 1651 word vision can entirely be narrowed down to 4 simple words, “I Have a Dream!”
Think about these simple statements:
Power Corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. ~Lord Acton~
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. ~Sun-Tzu~
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Ghandi~
When you are in love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams. ~Dr. Seuss~
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~Martin Luther King~
These are simple statements, meticulously crafted, that have been imprinted into people’s hearts in a timeless continuum. These phrases have captivated the hearts of people around the world. These phrases have power to move even the most obstinate minded to head into a new direction.
How do you as a communicator take a chapter filled with great thought and chop it down to a succinct page? How do you take a page of precise thought and chisel it down to a paragraph of thought provoking intrigue?
Then, and only then, how do you force that paragraph down to a laser focused phrase that will be etched into the hearts and minds for centuries to come?
Each word matters. Each word has the force to create significant impact. Each word has the ability to transform thought. Craft each word with the expectation that it can change the world.