How important is our choice of words?

An old blind man was sitting on a busy street corner in the rush-hour begging for money. On a cardboard sign, next to an empty tin cup, he had written: ‘Blind – Please help’.

No-one was giving him any money.

A young advertising writer walked past and saw the blind man with his sign and empty cup, and also saw the many people passing by completely unmoved, let alone stopping to give money.

The advertising writer took a thick marker-pen from her pocket, turned the cardboard sheet back-to-front, and re-wrote the sign, then went on her way.

Immediately, people began putting money into the tin cup.

After a while, when the cup was overflowing, the blind man asked a stranger to tell him what the sign now said.

“It says,” said the stranger, ” ‘It’s a beautiful day. You can see it. I cannot.’ “

This story illustrates in a timeless way how important choice of words and language is when we want to truly connect with and move other people. 

Of course both signs told people the man was blind. But the first sign simply said the man was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

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9 responses to “How important is our choice of words?

  1. yea the chouce of word is important but for a blind man???…umm he has alot more to worry about than something just saying:P

  2. Words die in air when it find no ears– well, whatever choice of the words would be, we merely need listeners with comprehension.Words die in air when it find no ears– well, whatever choice of the words would be, we merely need listeners with comprehension.

    • hahaa I was going to edit your previous comment and tidy it up but have decided to leave it 😛
      aur pakistan ki essi ki tessi nei .. sab tera kasoor hai.. i give up 😛

      • Gratitude for leaving my comment intact, am grateful– khaaa :-p
        kasoor na Pakistan ka hai, na tera hai, na mera hai…sara kasoor Pakistan k hukumranoo ka hai.they fools only mastered the corruptions, they don’t know how to govern a country– they ruined Pakistan very badly.

  3. adnan soniyo tussi v zardari tarha apni galti na maana! blame it on the whole pakistani govt and paskitan for your neglect … l’ve said it before to you and will say it again.. you should go into politics.. you can talk your way out of any disaster you create.. 😛
    tere essi ki tessi 😛

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