Wisdom and Speech: Excellent Speech Leads to An Excellent life

Here is a subject almost no one today even considers: rehearsed speech.  I mean to suggest the unthinkable idea that many people would be much better off today, if they took the time to craft out (in about one paragraph or so) selected speech units that they then memorize and adapt strategically into their lives, for use at occasions and situations for which they were created and easily adapt.

Is there a problem with spontaneous speech?  Well, consider that it might get you in trouble, or embarrass you, if it comes out badly.  Rehearsed speech runs like a train on two rails — you know exactly where it aims before you get there — no scary surprises in need of retraction.

This provides both a measure of predictability, and a measure of CONTROL over your lips — self-control.   It also gives you control over the way you appear to others — or control over your reputation.  Moreover, this practice instills confidence, and gives a sense of security about the future, and over what (otherwise) unruly situations  might arise.  Memorizing is many ways the lost key to greater understanding, better education, and skill in life to handle almost any rhetorical or social situation that might arise.


Put bluntly, the collective advice implied by the many speech-oriented Proverbs amounts to this: devise and use a speech-management program to tame the unruly tongue.   Rehearsed speech can surely enable this.  This means you will want to:

First, sit down and begin collecting sayings and, or quotes from various sources that you admire. Keep and ongoing list, perhaps on the desktop of your computer.  There are entire volumes of “quotable quotes,” ranging from the academic and profound, to the funny and witty one-liners (e.g. “change is inevitable, except from vending machines”).

I would suggest keeping several different (ongoing) lists, each with its own topic heading “funny stuff,” “intelligent stuff — physics,” intelligent stuff — life,” “witty stuff,” etc   Some should take the form of questions.  Others should propose brief lessons with a punchline.  These should each have a distinct purpose — to motivate people to do good works, to profit other people, to alert them as to something profoundly important, to make others think “long-term” about life, to promote good causes, or else healing the psychological wounds, or to promote the physical health of others, or sometimes, simply to make others laugh.

Here are some things to consider in crafting your new speech life.

You should be excited that this can greatly improve your life.  Next, think of all the wise sayings you know of, and consider using some of these as “templates” (starting points).  Then, draw upon the resources of a thesaurus to change some of the words of the sayings or quotable quotes, so that you are not simply repeating the old.  Try rearranging the sentence now this way, now that.  Adjust it many times, until it fits a style all your own.  You get to define who you are by making these wise sayings your own, and using them to shape the way you think and live over time.

Next, think about the package, the way your units are formed.  Short parallels (or the use of symmetry) usually make the point last in the minds of hearer most effectively.  Recall JFK’s famous saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”


Conclusion: wise speech is like good writing.  It has to go through many drafts before it is excellent.  Excellent speech is waxes profitable, healing, funny, skilled, witty, promotes the good, resists evil, teaches briefly, and says much in few words.  If you raise the quality of your speech, you raise the quality of your life.

The only other way to improve your speech well comes by expanding your vocabulary.  You should work on this also.  A wide ranging vocabulary bespeaks a very intelligent mind.  Reading broadly will also tend to cause this naturally over time.  Otherwise, one could best manage this by systematically (10 words each day) memorizing and using your new words in sentences.

P.S. you might also consider memorizing at least 20 funny sayings you could have at the ready,  adapting these this way or that to the need of the moment.


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