Our Vocabulary – Did You Know?

Did you know that studies have been conducted supporting the fact that the success a person achieves in their life is directly related to the extent of their vocabulary?

These studies are referenced by Earl Nightingale, in his program: Lead the Field.

Following are a few excerpts…

Not enough people realize that it is our ability to use our language that will determine our place on the social pyramidand that will also control, to a great extent, the amount of money we will earn during our lives.

A person may dress in the latest fashion and present a very attractive appearance. So far, so good. But the minute he or she opens his or her mouth and begins to speak, he or she proclaims to the world his or her level on our social pyramid…Our use of our language is the one thing we can’t hide.

In Lead the Field, he references a 20-year study of college graduates.

Without a single exception, those who had scored highest on the vocabulary test given in college, were in the top income group, while those who had scored the lowest were in the bottom income group.

He also references a study by scientist Johnson O’Connor, who gave vocabulary tests to executive and supervisory personnel in 39 large manufacturing companies.

Presidents and vice presidents averaged 236 out of a possible 272 points; managers averaged 168; superintendents, 140; foremen, 114; floor bosses, 86. In virtually every case, vocabulary correlated with executive level and income.

I know, I know…We’ve all had the experience of reading, talking with someone or listening to a speech when the person seems to use words that were much more complicated than necessary.

Sometimes people can go overboard.

However, there are times when what is being communicated is best explained and/or more impactful with the use of a specific (albeit, infrequently used) word.

You’ve probably also had the experience, when hearing an unfamiliar word, of considering how that word is being used in the context in which it was shared. And, when doing so we can often make an educated guess as to the nature of its meaning. The result being that we have just learned something new!

Take the prior post (just below), in which I quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson. He uses the word “cipher”; an uncommon word. In the context of the sentence I had a pretty good idea of what he was referring to. Just the same, I wanted to make sure I “got it.” So, I looked it up – online!

Key suggestion: ANY time we come across an unfamiliar word we can serve ourselves well by IMMEDIATELY learning what it means. It is very quick and simple to do so. All we need to do is reach for our smartphone, go online and type “define [insert unknown word here]”. BLAMMO! Up comes definitions of the word including its usage within sentences. All, within seconds!

We can also use the Dictionary app on our iPhone.

In fact, the Dictionary app has a Word of the Day feature. While I’d consider my vocabulary to be pretty good, I’ve found that many of the words the app serves up each day are new to me. When a new word comes up I’ll often drill-in to learn its meaning.

In closing, we should NEVER skim over an unfamiliar word. Especially when we can so easily look up its definition. Because, upon learning a new word we have just expanded our horizon by another notch. And, as Earl Nightingale points out, each word serves as a nucleus around which numerous other words seem to whirl. So, by learning a single new word, we by default learn several related words in the process.

And, EVERY one counts as a puzzle-piece towards our success!

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Keep learning – every single day!

All the best!

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