Expand Thou Vocabulary

Michael B. Musgrove
6 min readAug 5, 2021

If you read, write or think, you need to use words. Your inner voice can only define what you know how to tell it, which means educate your brain.

It makes sense that the more words we know the meaning of, how to use them, and when they are appropriate or useful to draw focus to a particular point or compel a person to act, the more powerful and dynamic our abilities become. And don’t you want powerful and dynamic abilities? Of course, you do! It makes life better, more comfortable, and has a multiplier effect. The better you’re able to describe or define a situation or item, the more valuable it innately becomes.

Constantly reinforcing your vocabulary is a good idea for several reasons. And not just for irritating siblings and friends with your erudite lexicon but to be able to define “things” in many different ways and perspectives. It affords you multipotentiality when negotiating a matter.

I can provide interminable examples, but here are just a few:

  • You can fine-tune your description of an item, feeling, thought or anything you can render in words;
  • Your confidence will grow, which helps with public speaking and improves your perspective on life;
  • Your inner voice becomes more educated and sophisticated, which results in a better quality of life for yourself and those around you;
  • The dreams you have during restorative sleep (REM) will leverage your ever-expanding mental dictionary and help you perform better during the hours you need it;
  • You’ll perform better at work and become a more capable writer and speaker and communicator, which is valuable;
  • Your interpersonal relationships will improve because you’ll be able to better understand what others are telling you by putting their output into terms that are perhaps easier to comprehend.

That’s only a small offering of ways I can think of just off the cuff. There may even be studies that find more possibilities and validate further what I’m saying but even if not, those reasons are true and make sense, no?

There’s the sales pitch. So how do you cultivate your vocabulary? Glad you asked.

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Michael B. Musgrove

Featured in HBR (Oct. 11), MBA, published author and marketing professor. To start with.