Our words matter.
In fact, they are paramount.
The words we choose to speak, listen to and tell ourselves shape the narratives of our lives and the lives around us. Words and the narratives they form shape society and indeed the world.
Through your words, I have a window into your world and far too often your words betray your inner secrets.
I can use your words to market to you. To sell you an idea and to get inside your mind.
Words and cutlery separate us from the animals.
Words form inside our minds and shape our story.
Sometimes our words are used to build others up, and sometimes to knock them down. Sometimes they are used wisely and all too often they betray us.
We only seem to remember the negative ones and so seldom the positive. And if we can become metacognitive enough to really stop and watch the words that form our thoughts, we can gain real insight into our own inner world and how it is influenced by the stories, narratives and words of that outside of us.
Words are the most powerful marketing and communication tool and yet one of the hardest to analyze as they are more often qualitative, not quantitative, and subjective at best and downright confusing at worst.
Yet if I can understand the words that are floating around inside your head and how they shape your personal story. And if I can extrapolate that out and understand how they affect people around you in your society and people that are like you. If I can start to understand their stories. If I can soak in these stories and extrapolate them out into a narrative, a movement or the voice of a social group, network or community I can learn enough about you to influence your story and that of your community. If I do this on a large enough scale, I can shape societal narratives and influence change. And I can do this to suit my agenda not yours.
If I use social listening and social network analysis tools, I can find the most influential people in a social group or network and I can seek to influence them and they in turn you.
And I can do this all from the information, data and conversations you so willingly share on social media, in networks and within society.
So, you might say to me “I have nothing to hide” but I would ask you from whom do you think you would be hiding and whom do you think might be looking to know you?
I could be a marketer, a hacker, a national security agent, a bad actor from a foreign state, a bad actor from a local threat, I could be big business, political technologist, mass media, conman, fraudster or data scientist, a troll, a stalker or any and all of the above and you give me free access to enough data to influence you and those around you.
I would ask you to watch how you respond to that statement. Watch what words pop into your mind and ask yourself where they came from. Are they your thoughts? Or are they the thoughts of your society? Your upbringing? The media you read? Can you honestly say that any thought is of totally original independent decent?
Try thinking without words. Go ahead try it.
Truly thinking, not being vacant or absent-minded, but truly thinking through something without a single word popping into your head. Its almost impossible. And how long before your train of thought takes you somewhere you didn’t know you wanted to or intended to go?
If we really stop to think about the words that influence and make up our story, we can question the narratives that shape our lives and the external forces that shape our story.
When we start to question “the very story of me” we start to open a world of influence that we had never really noticed was there in the first place. When we do this, we can touch freedom and greatness and we can see how we can positively affect not only our own lives but that of others around us.
To understand this, we need to also delve deeper into how we are behaviorally targeted by those looking to be masters of our destiny and shape our narratives, our stories for us so that we can take ownership of this process off them and into our own hands.