Words matter. I try to use the right ones, but I don’t always get it right. It can be painful when we use the wrong words. It is not even as simple as right or wrong words. Some words are just better than others. They send a different message and point in a different direction.

We interchange these words at times. Using a particular word can change how people perceive you and can even change your subconscious thinking. Here are five words that I think are better than similar words we use.

Investing > Saving

Learning to save is something we want our children to do with their money at an early age. One of the things we fail to teach is the importance of investing. I heard two statements recently that reminded me of the difference. The first was, “It is nearly impossible to save your way to wealth.” The second was, “Why would we save when they can print more. The way to wealth is investing.” I think about how we approach people and how we relate these words. Given a choice, most people would rather hang around people who invest over people who save. Why? Because we usually view investors as generous and savers as stingy. This paradigm is not always true, but it does affect our mindset. This concept even applies to time. Your greatest returns will come from the time you invest, not the time you save. It does not mean that saving is bad. It just seems that investing is better. 

Responding > Reacting

I have talked about this before. The best example is medicine. When we take medication, and it works, medical professionals say we are responding well. When we have a reaction, that is not usually good. In life, responders are better than reactors. Responders typically improve or minimize damage. Reactors tend to make things worse. If you want improvement, respond. Don’t react.

Forgiving > Revenge

This one seems so obvious, but it is much more challenging to live out. We like control. We think that not forgiving someone helps us control the situation. If we get revenge, we inflict some of the pain we have experienced. We somehow believe that if we forgive that they are free. The person whom forgiveness sets free is you. Forgiveness is about the offended, not the offender.

Purpose > Profession

I know many people who have a profession, but they are not living their purpose. It is not that they do not have a purpose. They have either not found it or have chosen the security of a profession over fulfilling a purpose. The goal is to merge the two. To live out our purpose while being able to support ourselves financially with a career. A profession without purpose only provides resources with no reason. Live on purpose. 

Love > Tolerance

Tolerance is a popular word in our culture. When was the last time you got excited about someone tolerating you? Tolerance is inferior to love. What most people mean by tolerance is the absence of confrontation and the presence of approval. Love is better. Love always accepts, but it does not always approve. Tolerance is never going to solve the differences of the world. I don’t want to be tolerated. I want to be loved. It is the greatest need of our culture.

You may disagree with my assessment of words. I would encourage you to think about the words you use and how the people around you receive them. Words set the table for many other things in your life. Use the best ones, not just acceptable ones. 

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