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Four Letter Words: Not THOSE Ones!

I recently saw a piece of research indicating that using four letter words was a sign of intelligence. The article I read was referring to swearing and how the brain processes vocabulary, challenge, and failure. The words described below are technically "four letter words," but their  meanings are more subtle - and perhaps more powerful - than randomly blurted expletives.

Photo by Ugur Arpaci on Unsplash


Fear paralyzes us when we have an important decision to make about our immediate future. We have all heard the phrase (or physically witnessed) about the deer in the headlights. Another fear-based reaction (or no, action in this case) is referred to as analysis paralysis. As a recovering engineer, I know too well how tempting it is to crunch just one more number or to review just one more report. The reality is that we will never have all the information we would like to make the "perfect" decision. Pete Winarski from Win Enterprises recently reminded some of us: do not confuse perfect with better. We must review, interpret, and act before the headlights are over our heads - rather than in front of our antlers.

Photo by Abigail Griffith on Unsplash


The antidote to fear is hope. This four letter word signifies a belief that our current situation will get better and that we need not fear the potentially adverse outcome of our actions. Everyone makes mistakes and (believe it or not) we learn from those mistakes. The bigger the mistake, the more we learn! The path to success leads directly through failure - usually more than once. Hope is what keeps us moving toward something that we may not be able to actually see or touch - yet!


Hate and the related anger are wasted emotions in that nothing productive ever materializes from their existence. Internalization festeres the hatred in such a way that it often does the owner more damage than the target of the anger. The chairlift conversations with my athletes this past weekend ranged from Super Bowl recipes to snowfall predictions to Halloween costumes. Truly a wide range of topics! The costume theme reminded me of Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series of books. He was the quintessential member of Slytherin House and the antithesis to Harry himself. Draco was full of hate, anger, and revenge. In the end, it was Harry and Gryffindor House who triumphed at no expense to Draco or anyone from Slytherin.


This four letter word needs no introduction around this time of year. Love is delicate. Love is fleeting. Love should be embraced whenever and wherever it appears. One of my favorite quotes was uttered by Hugh Grant during his portrayal of the British Prime Minister in the 2004 movie Love, Actually.

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. - Hugh Grant

Our "hope" is that love will follow you whatever course you chart and fill you with abundance beyond what Madonna enjoyed as a Material Girl in our material world. Listen HERE!

Happy Valentines Week!

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