Words cannot change reality, but they can change how people perceive reality.
Words can trigger ideas, memories, situations, circumstances, actions, thoughts and feelings that cause emotional responses. Consequently, decisions based on words alone may not necessarily reflect common sense, logic or one’s best interest.
Media for example has the power to influence the way in which people view world and social events. If a media outlet, especially a reputable one, introduces a bias into a news story, the readers or listeners will tend to view the event through the biased filter established by the media report. The filter created by the biased information will remain in place until the reader is exposed to other reports. Clearly, emotions run the show: love, joy, pleasure, anger, pain, fear. Emotions fuel perception which in turn provides a vehicle in which people pre-judge circumstances and come to conclusions.
We are all susceptible to the power and influence of words on different levels.
One characteristic that can help us to better navigate the wilderness of words is the ability to practice critical thought. Back in graduate school, I was exposed to many exercises and projects that focused my attention on developing my critical thinking skills. That experience has made a world of difference in my approach to many situations both personally and professionally.
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating gathered information. This can be done by research, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. The desire result is that critical thinking will serve as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, critical thinking will help provide you with clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, and fairness.
(#31WriteNow Day 5)