My Top 10 Most POWERFUL WORDS and Why

Clark Gaither, MD, FAAFP

Clark Gaither, MD, FAAFP

We all harbor words of power, words which have special meaning to us. Words which have emotional connections behind them. Words which come from the depths of our individual personal histories. When we use them or honor them in our daily lives, we put ourselves in a position to share the best parts of ourselves with others. Honoring our own personal words of power is where our greatest influence is to be found.

Over the years I have identified my words of power and I try to honor them as often as I can. Here is a listing of my top 10 words of power and the reasons I have chosen them. Or, did they choose me? Yours may be the same, similar or completely different. My purpose for sharing them is to get you thinking about what your own POWERFUL WORDS might be.

At the end of this post I will provide you with an opportunity to perform your own Core Values Inventory absolutely FREE. In reverse order, here are my Top 10 Powerful Words:

#10. STRUGGLE. Struggle is a precious gift. Granted, it almost never seems so while when we are struggling. It never did for me. But I have come to view struggle differently now.

All creatures struggle. Humans achieve their fullest potential though struggle, if we choose. To end a struggle before there is a clear loss or win is to lose twice. If you believe struggle produces tangible benefits, even if you should lose, then to struggle and lose or to struggle and win is to win twice. This is a Great Secret – when we struggle, we only lose if we choose.

I know why we fear and dread struggle so. Struggle is hard. Struggle is unpredictable. Struggle is painful and cruel. Isn’t it strange, though, that we often look back on the aspects of struggles with some sense of satisfaction and fondness after emerging from them triumphant or changed? There is a reason for this. They were worth it.

Imagine a life without struggle? How would we learn? How would we grow? How would we become strong? It only takes a moments reflection to realize, struggle is a precious gift.

Opposite of what most of us were taught, perhaps we can begin to view life’s struggles less negatively. Instead, we could endeavor to embrace our struggles for the precious gifts they bring just as long as we remain open to receive them. 

#9. ADVENTURE. This is a topic which is always sure to excite me, my next adventure. From beginning, through the middle and on to the end, I love adventure and completely new adventures in unfamiliar locations are the most exciting kind.

This can be in the form of travel to a new destination, a new activity or a new experience. Even dinning on different food dishes or cuisines feels like an adventure to me.

Science fiction is another avenue rich in adventure which I really enjoy. Some of my earliest memories are of going to the movies with my father to see the latest Sci Fi flick on the big screen. Everyone on the screen was caught up in an adventure and they took me right along with them. When the next Sci Fi movie debuts, you will find me at the theater.

For me, even event planning and organizing for new adventures can be almost as exciting as having them. Take it from me, if you want to live a thrilling and vital existence while feeling fully alive, don’t EVER lose you sense of adventure!

#8. NATURE. There are few things in life from which I gain more satisfaction than being outdoors. Whether hiking a familiar or unknown trail, running, diving on a wreck at 100 feet or a reef at 30, camping, or a long walk through the woods, the great outdoors is very much a part of my inner sanctum.

Remember when we were small kids and everything outside seemed mysterious and magical? I remember picking up bugs, leaves, plants and staring at them for hours. I remember smelling every flower I could find. Some of them smelled great, some terrible, and some had no smell at all.  I remember cataloging in my head all of the different animal tracks and bird’s songs. I remember endlessly feeling of the bark on tress, chewing on a sprig and climbing them as high as I could go. I remember being fascinated by all of the different kinds of rocks and ended up with quite a collection. I remember swimming in the ocean or in a lake for hours and hours and never wanting to come out of the water.

I am happy to report I have never stopped doing any of these things. I believe I am a spiritual person. As such, I know for sure you can not be a spiritual person and feel connected to this world if you have separated yourself from nature.

#7. RESOURCEFULNESS. The Boy Scouts of America do indeed teach resourcefulness but I had a large dose of that before ever joining them as a kid. It was something I learned from my father.

I watched him as he worked, played, lived. He was a painting contractor which was his profession but he was good with his hands. He was able to work wood. He understood mechanics. He could fix almost anything.

If he found something he didn’t know or couldn’t do, he went out and learned it. If there was something specific he needed but didn’t have, he would look around and find something he could make work in its place using just what was available.

I came to value this ability in him first and then in me. There are few things I can’t “MacGyver” my way out of or into thanks to my dad.

Resourcefulness is a skill which has served me very well over the years. It is a skill I continue to call upon and value highly.

#6. CURIOSITY. When I was still in the crib my dad made a toy for me out of a piece of board covered in green Formica with a green tile pattern. It was about 15 x 20 inches in size. On that board he affixed various objects. There were sliding and hooking latches, an old light switch, a bell you could ring, metal numbers I could spin around, bolts with nuts that I could turn but couldn’t quite remove and various other metal mechanical contraptions.

Today, it most certainly wouldn’t pass anyone’s safety inspection or make anyone’s list of child approved toys. It had sharp parts, tidbits you could swallow and pieces with which you could impale or otherwise puncture yourself. Well, none of that happened to me.

I loved that toy. Mom said I would play with that thing endlessly until I would fall asleep with my head resting against its contrivance encrusted surface. Small wonder I took apart and put back together nearly everything in the house growing up.

I believe that toy gave me an unquenchable curiosity to know how things work, even animals and people. I was dissecting frogs and fish by the time I was six, grew up trying to care for sick animals both found and purchased and ended up with a career in medicine.

Although some of its original parts are missing, I still have that toy my dad made for me to this day. I wouldn’t part with it for a million dollars. The sense of curiosity it instilled in me is with me to this day.

#5. TEACHING. Sometimes at the end of an email, just under my name, I will put the words – “Learn. Share. Grow.” The word ‘share’ for me means teaching.

I absolutely LOVE to teach. It is because I value KNOWLEDGE so much. When I am able to teach someone something they didn’t know and they find it useful, then I feel I have given them something valuable.

It is a way for me to give back. I have taught nursing students, family nurse practitioners and student doctors in my office during their clinical rotations and I’ve given hundreds of talks to other physicians and the public on various topics in medicine.

My new book, POWERFUL WORDS, is just another way for me to share what I have learned on my journey in hopes it will help someone else on their journey.

Learning from others is how we know. Sharing what we have learned through teaching is how we grow.

#4. CREATIVITY. Creativity is the life blood of the artist. If you combine KNOWLEDGE with IMAGINATION and give people the FREEDOM to self express then CREATIVITY will be the natural result.

I hear so many people say precisely what I used to tell myself – “I can’t create. I’m not an artist. I’m not capable of being original.” I was wrong and they are wrong. Everyone has the innate ability to be creative. For so many, though, creative potential remains locked away, held hostage by fear of failing.

Sure, everyone has a range of different talents and abilities but artists are not born artists. The first act of creation for an artist is to create themselves as an artist. It is from that first act of creation that all other artistic creativity flows.

If you believe you do not possess creativity, then you don’t. If you believe you do possess creativity, then you do. It is a choice. To believe it you must begin to break free, stretch, lean in, explore.

I have come to believe I am a creative person. I want you to believe you are too. Creativity will unlock and open more doors faster for you than anything else I know.

#3. IMIGINATION. When I was about twelve and in the sixth grade my parents were called in to see my grade school principal. I was beginning to have some trouble in school with my grades. I wasn’t interested in school anymore. All I really wanted to do was sit at my desk and dream of far away places.

I loved to daydream. I discovered I could go anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted to do in my mind with IMAGINATION. Today, I would probably be diagnosed with a learning disability. Learning was never my problem. Boring teachers teaching boring subjects was my problem.

I don’t know what I would do without my IMAGINATION, to explore with my mind the endless possibilities and I pity the people who seemingly have none. We could not long survive or advance as a species without it.

#2. KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge is another of my core values, the second one of my top five. I have always valued knowledge. I love knowing things, about how things work, how things are constructed or put together. Even people. This is probably why I ended up with a career in medicine.

If there is something you don’t know or are curious about, a few minutes search on the internet will provide whatever information you seek. There is no sacred knowledge anymore.  With a PC, laptop or data phone you have the entire world at your fingertips.

Information truly is power. If you want to change or create something, you must first understand it. You must know it first.

Knowledge is the universal key for unlocking the infinitude of possibilities and the seemingly impossible.

#1. FREEDOM. Freedom is my top Core Value and a Powerful Word in its own right. What could we possibly enjoy, hold dear, create or call our own without FREEDOM?

Freedom gives us the opportunity to be our best selves using our own unique set of natural talents and abilities, if we choose. To come and go as we wish, to pursue our dreams, to express ourselves, to purchase what our hearts desires and enjoy the fruits of our labor unencumbered should be the earnest desire and first right of every human. Freedom in all it’s forms should be fiercely guarded and defended lest it be stripped away from us.

I can think of no cause more noble than freedom, to be the architect of our own destiny and live our lives according to our own plan, not according to someone else’s blueprint. I cherish FREEDOM most of all.

If you have never performed a Core Values Inventory, you should. Knowing your cores values will allow you to honor them more effectively and stop you from dishonoring them. This will make for a much happier, successful and peaceful existence. If you fill in your name and email address in the box up at the top right you can download a Core Values Inventory absolutely FREE along with several other useful tools I have created for sharing.

Do you know your top five core values?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *