“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia
Words are powerful. They plant the seeds of belief that ultimately create our reality. So, we become what we believe about ourselves. We don’t live in a vacuum, and much of what we believe about ourselves is influenced by what our parents, mentors, teachers and others in the world around us think of us. We often take those perceptions and judgments about us to heart, and accept them as fact, especially when we are young.
I believe each of us is meant to share our own unique brand of greatness with the world in our own unique way, and those early messages we receive about who we are shape our destinies. When we receive positive feedback, it encourages us to believe that we are capable of achieving anything we desire – words of encouragement have the potential to turn a life around.
That’s exactly what happened to Thomas Edison. You probably know Thomas Edison for inventing the light bulb even though he had thousands of other inventions – he was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many others around the world. What you might not know is that he was home schooled. The reason for it is surprising, but his mother’s reaction to the school teacher’s letter is the most shocking, amazing, and awe-inspiring of all!
Take a look at this short video to see just how powerful words and beliefs are in shaping our lives:
I don’t know if Edison’s mother understood the power of suggestion, or if she was just a very loving mother who had the quick-wit to spare her beloved son from despair. Either way, her decision to reframe a negative circumstance by refusing to accept “the facts” she was presented with changed the course of Thomas’ life.
Can you imagine if she had read him the letter as it was written? I’m not sure young Thomas would have invented much, but he believed he was a genius, so he became one.
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– John Keating, Dead Poets Society
We are often presented with situations where we have the choice to offer encouragement and support instead of dampening another’s spirit with seemingly indisputable “facts.” When we are mindful that we create reality with our thoughts, we will always opt to plant the seeds for a better reality with an encouraging word. You never know, you might play a role in bringing out the greatness the world is waiting for…your words might have the power to turn darkness into light. Literally.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!