An expansive vocabulary will enrich your life -your mental state, social and professional life. I hope this doesn’t come to you as a surprise. But your ability to express yourself properly using the right phrases would affect how you are perceived in the wider world. For example, the tone of your email or telephone conversation, choice of words could project confidence, aptitude at communication and expertise in the subject area discussed depending on how fluent your sentences or speech comes across. Using false language breaks rather than similes or metaphors, fillers or grunts such as erm, uhmmm rather than correct adjectives or adverbs, may suggest nervousness, lack of imagination or familiarity with the subject matter. If you find you tend to be long-winded when trying to express ideas, your vocabulary may need updating. I should also add that the ability to be succinct is one of the many indicators of an intelligent mind.
Secondly, a rich vocabulary will affect your self-awareness where you know the subtle difference between complaining, winging and whining and consequently pick your battles wisely. For example, you go out with work colleagues and someone rubs you off on the wrong side. You might explain that to a friend or yourself (if you like soliloquising that is). Your conversation may take the form of something like this – I am angry at person X for speaking to me in a sharp, harsh or disdainful manner, which of course you didn’t like. But if you unpacked that situation a bit more you might find that perhaps your weren’t angry, probably irritated that someone made you feel small in the presence of colleagues with whom, understandably, your social standing is very important.
But assessing this situation in the right context might make you realize that you were perhaps embarrassed rather than angry. Or on the other hand, worse still, depending on your tolerance level for being teased (this is putting it mildly that is), you may find that you are actually furious and you didn’t respond at the time because you were just being polite just to save face and you may very well be in need of a chat with the colleague in question to arrive at an amicable position. This level of emotional introspection at a granular level would help you figure out and understand what feelings you were experiencing exactly and help you respond appropriately.
Another example might be positively classifying anxiety before a date as excitement or anticipation of a good outcome rather than nerves alone as we tend to make irrational decisions when cortisol, the hormone that drives the feeling of stress is up-regulated when we think such thoughts. Expressing the appointment of a date using less stressful language may actually help the brain secrete feel-good hormones to ensure you remain calm and attain the desired outcome of the start of a new relationship.
But, with a limited vocabulary, this level of self-awareness may be difficult to come by as your language of operation would comprise of extremes such as sad or happy. Rather than a spectrum of sad, anxious, miserable, wreathed, irritated, mournful, aggravated, depressed, etc. Knowing the subtle differences between these words and being able to retrieve them from your brain for use at the right time is the skill to develop.
This ability has apparently been linked to better quality of life – fewer hospital visits and better social course of actions because the right deductions of unpleasant social triggers and the like are gauged accurately and improved upon with new data. See details in study report by neuroscientist Lisa Feldman. Recalibrating your life with new words and concepts would help improve your prediction rate on how to respond to different situations. Thereby, enhancing your critical reasoning ability.
So I hope you are you ready for growth and change? Well then, very briefly, I am going to show you two strategies for making this better. These strategies are not difficult or complicated. In fact! They are so common but could profoundly change your life for the better. And perhaps, this underscores the saying that common sense is not that common. I would go further by taking one of Winston Churchills quote, to say, the process of applying one of these strategies may require toil and sweat, but hopefully not blood or tears. Just dedication, focus, determination and some sprinkles of curiosity.
Here are 2 steps to a richer vocabulary:
1. Be intentional
Read books within and outside your preferred genre; if possible twice. The human brain plays tricks on us. Have you ever wondered why we remember lines from movies than geography class? Well, that’s a conversation for another day. Again, actively listen to audiobooks and good speakers within your field of practice and a variety of topics.
This should then lead to you ask intelligent questions, creating or reinforcing the neurological map in your brain needed for you to be able to recall and appropriately apply such terminology.
Lastly, I told you they were simple.
2. Be patient – this skill will be born with time & practice. Winks! Good luck