Thoughts on words and what they mean to people

The other day, my marketing instructor asked my class to fill out an infographic of ourselves so that he could presumably develop a sense of who he would be teaching this semester.  One of the questions asked us to rate how passionate we felt about a few key components of our experience here at BCIT.  It seemed straightforward enough to me, so I filled out my answers and didn’t think on it again until the following lecture.  My instructor pulled up examples of student answers and he brought up that several people had rated marketing alarmingly low on the scale of how passionate they were about it  He commented on how strange he found it, because of the obvious reason that we’re all in a marketing program.

I realized that I had ranked marketing as something like a 4/10, and started berating myself for blowing it so early in the semester.  I wondered what could’ve possibly possessed me to make such a claim, and then I realized that I interpreted the word “passionate” completely differently than how it was intended.

I realized that my definition of being passionate about something implies a deep knowledge and understanding of the thing you’re passionate about.  Had the question asked me about my interest in marketing, I would’ve answered 10/10 without thinking.  I didn’t feel like my introductory knowledge about marketing was enough to warrant passion, even though I do want to reach the level of understanding to confidently announce my passion for it.

Does this mean I completely overanalyzed a worksheet for a class?  Probably, but I feel like it is a valuable exercise to examine words and the power they have over you.  More specifically, what precise words mean to you.  One of the most important things I’m learning at school (that has yet to transfer to my personal life) is that the ability to say more with fewer words is an incredible, sometimes beautiful talent.  I imagine it’s something I will be working on for the rest of my life.  I used to resent my professors in university saying “why use ten words when two will do?” because I felt like they were trying to stifle my creativity.  Turns out they were just trying to help me reign in my inherent desire to tell the equivalent of my life story in every class assignment.

My goals for the end of this semester are to work on being intentional about the words I use in projects and use specific, powerful words instead of diluting what I’m trying to say through excessive verbosity.  I do love my words, but I’m going to try to pick the right ones.


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