I have a Canadian friend whose hobby is playing with words. Stan loves throwing in words to a sentence that has two meanings and using the wrong one – if you know what I mean. We exchange zany emails from time to time and I have to admit that he is ten times better at the game than am I.
The reason I say ‘ten times’ is because we have come up with what we agree are the ten most important words that define each and every one of us. That would be too easy for Stan, to just list the words. No … his rules were that each word could only have the number of letters to correspond with the figure, as in one letter for number one and ten letters for number ten. Again, most of this is not my work – other than the ‘added-ons’.
Starting off at number one is the word ‘I’. This is the most selfish word on our list and should be avoided as best you can. If ‘I’ defines your personality you won’t have as many people care about you. The man or woman who makes ‘I’ the centre of every conversation will spend a lot of time talking to themselves.
So let us move quickly to the number two word in our top ten. This two-letter word is everything that number one isn’t, and the word is ‘WE’. Here we have a word that means ‘sharing’ and involving other people. ‘We’ is always all embracing and inclusive – except perhaps the ‘royal we’!
Coming in at number three is a word that is closely related to number one, and this word can destroy you if you allow it. It is called ‘EGO’. I remember being told one time that ego is the greatest cause of business failure. Maybe a little bit of ego is no harm, if it drives us on; just know when to slam its brakes on!
Do you know what is the most commonly used four letter word in the English language? (Ah Lads … Lads, please … children read this column). The word is ‘LOVE.’ This is the word we should value and think of most. Be advised to use this one often. It wasn’t used enough in the families of my generation – but the grandkids are good at piling on the credits!
You are going to smile when you hear what made it at number five. The word is ‘SMILE.’ This is the most pleasing word of all. A warm smile delivers a greater message than all the words ever written in YCBS. A smile is the mirror of life, because when we smile it smiles back at us.
Our six-letter word is one I want you to ignore at all times. It is ‘RUMOUR’. Very few of us can truthfully claim not to gossip … I suppose some of us refer to it as ‘small talk’, but the spreading of the ‘rumour’ (and a ‘good rumour’ is as scarce as a bed in Westport) is a terrible misuse of words.
And so to uimhir a seacht. Here we have a hard-working word. One that gives immense satisfaction where it applies – even if it does attract envy from some of the other words. Number seven is ‘SUCCESS’. Like we say, this is the hardest-working word and if you stick with it, you will achieve the ‘success.’
It is fitting that number eight – our eight-letter word, feeds off number seven and instead of being embraced, it is one you should distance yourself from. The person whom it will damage most is yourself. This word is ‘JEALOUSY’. Jealousy is a dangerous emotion. It can take hold of your mind and fester into untold unhappiness.
So, moving on quickly to our penultimate word. The ninth word, which has to have nine letters, is probably the most powerful word in the world. Have it and you can do anything; without it you are floundering around like a leaf in the breeze. Our ninth word is ‘KNOWLEDGE’. Alexander Pope said, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” He was wrong; every iota of knowledge is a torch in the dark. Acquiring knowledge has to be worked at and we never stop acquiring knowledge if the mind stays open. It is well worth keeping it open!
Top of the pile with ten letters and logged at number ten, is the word ‘FRIENDSHIP’. It is the most valued word of all. No matter what else you do, maintain friendship.
And there ya have it …!
The sneakiest two words in the English language are ‘plus tax!’