Wednesday, March 19, 2008

4 Reasons to Learn New Words

This post is inspired by my sister, dedicated to my mother, who always told me to look it up in the dictionary, and to Miss Carola, who does the same.

Learning new words has never been easier. Actually learning anything is more accessible than ever before. The critical question then becomes, all other things being equal, what should one learn? If all knowledge can be accessed through Wikipedia, then there is no apparent reason to learn because the answers are just a few clicks away. It may surprise you to know that learning new words can actually enable you achieve your goals faster and more completely, and help you get closer to the good life.

1. A wider vocabulary means faster career advancement. Johnson O'Connor (1891-1975) dedicated his life to understanding human behavior by measuring certain specific aptitudes. he did this through extensive testing and research throughout the United States over a span of more than 50 years. He determined that vocabulary level is the single best indicator of a person's career advancement.

2. Managing more words means people think you are smarter. Dr. O'Connor also found that regardless of a person's pattern of aptitudes and abilities, if the person fails to articulate, that person is likely to be considered less competent than a person who actually knows less (is truly less competent), but expresses himself more clearly and convincingly. Anyone who's worked in Corporate America sees this all the time. For additional examples, see Dilbert.

3. Impress people effortlessly. My sister recently made waves in a big way with one of her clients by telling him how to "eradicate", certain files, rather than using the usual humdrum verb "delete". She also could have used "obliterate, demolish, annihilate", but not "decimate". These more colorful words conjure more exciting images, and make you look better in the process.

4. It's fun to have more words in one's treasure box. It's also amusing, enjoyable, entertaining, pleasurable,cool, exciting, agreeable, gratifying, and pleasing.

Understanding a wider array of words advances your career because you understand more meanings and motives with greater precision. Expressing yourself clearly transmits an image of intelligence that often impresses in a good way. Enjoy the process.

Next post: Learn New Words: The Easy Way