Words at Work

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Put It into Words

May 9th, 2011 · No Comments · Writing

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor

“You do not know what you yourself think until you put it into words.”

Garrison Keillor said this in a documentary about his radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.” I frequently listen to his show, and I saw the film on public television a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t note the name, but I think it was this one.

I was so struck by the truth of his statement that I jotted it down. “You do not know what you yourself think…” This is why we can’t remember experiences of our childhood before a certain age. Until we were able to put them into words, we could not comprehend what we were experiencing.

It’s what separates us from other animals. They have no language and so can’t be aware of what they are thinking. Certainly they experience feelings, but they don’t know their thoughts.

Until we put them into words, we don’t know what we think about our business plans, our marketing ideas, and our goals. I believe that to really know what we think, and to be able to act on our thoughts, we must not only “put it into words,” we must also write the words down.

Most leaders of seminars designed to improve people’s performance in one way or another ask the attendees not only to think about what they want to do and changes they want to make — they also ask the attendees to write their thoughts and ideas down. They know that this takes our thoughts from the realm of fantasy and makes them real and meaningful to us.

To enhance your success, put your thoughts into words. And write them down.

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