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3 Stories That Demonstrate the Power of Words

How powerful can words be? Many times, they just get spoken and go in one ear and out the other. The three examples that follow show how the right words at the right time can be enough to change the course of one’s life.

Ms. Wong was working as a cab driver when she picked up a passenger. He pulled out a knife and robbed her. She surrendered all she had and said: “This is all I have earned today. If it’s too little, you can take the coins in my pocket too.” The robber was stunned by her frankness. Wong continued: “Where do you live? It’s late. Your family may be worried about you. I’ll take you home.” Her thoughtfulness moved the robber, and he put his knife away.

Ms. Wong elaborated: “My family used to live a hard life, so I learned to drive and became a cab driver. Even though I don’t make a lot of money, we are better off than before. But look at you! A man with a healthy body. What can’t you do?! If you keep going along this path, your life is doomed!”

When they arrived at the robber’s home, Wong told him as he got out: “Listen! You didn’t rob from me. I gave you the money. Do something good with it and don’t rob again.” The robber, who was silent throughout the ride, suddenly cried out loud and gave the money back to Wong. “I promise I won’t do this again, no matter what!” he said.

Like the sun, kind words shine and can warm others for life.

During high school, Taiwanese writer Lin Qingxuan was considered a bad student both academically and behaviorally; however, his teacher, Wang Yucang, never gave up on him. He often brought Lin home for dinner, and asked him to sit in for him to teach while he was on leave. Wang told him: “I have taught for 50 years. I can tell with just one glance that you can be someone great.”

Those words moved Lin. He decided from that moment to work hard toward a purpose. A few years later, Lin became a reporter. At the end of an article about theft, Lin commented: “With thoughts so meticulous, skills so dexterous, and a style so unique, a thief can do anything and succeed!”

He never would have thought that those heartfelt spur-of-the-moment words would have such an impact on a young man. Twenty years later, that young man, who was a thief long ago, had turned his life around and become an entrepreneur who enjoyed a moderate amount of fame. In an unexpected meeting with Lin, the man sincerely thanked him: “That article of yours brightened a blind spot in my life. It made me realize that I can do something useful besides being a thief!”

To someone on the verge of taking a wrong turn, caring and encouraging words are like a ball of fire that provides warmth, confidence, and self-respect. They enable people to have the energy to push on and achieve more.

Translated by Cecilia

  • David was born in the Midwestern section of the U.S. during the turbulent sixties. At an early age he took an interest in music and during high school and college played lead guitar for various local bands. After graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, he left the local music scene to work on a road crew installing fiber optic cable on telephone poles in various cities.

    After having to climb up a rotted pole surrounded by fencing, he turned to the world of I.T. where he now shares laughter with his wife and tends to his beehives in between writing articles on Chinese culture and social issues.

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