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The music of words

We read hundreds or thousands of words every day. But what determines if they resonate with us?

We are all composing a symphony of our lives. Thoughts in our heads manifest as an inner voice that uses the code of language to activate specific neural networks.

When a message resonates with us, it’s because someone else put together a series of notes that fit neatly into our own inner symphony, making our life a little more harmonious.

But there is a problem. Just like hearing a song does not mean knowing how to play it, hearing a deep resonating message does not mean understanding it or knowing how to use it.

When musicians learn to play a song, they listen to it, pick apart the components and replicate them using their own instrument. They repeat the same riff or series of notes over and over and over… and struggle until they can replay them precisely.

Just like with a song, if you repeatedly listen to an interview, over and over and over again, you’ll learn to discern the intricacies of someone else’s inner symphony, see the meaning of a message and realize how it can fit into your own.

We can hear the most insightful message in a talk, but if we hear it only once like a part of a song, chances are we’ll not use it in any way.

There are multiple interviews I’ve listened to 10+ times to understand what the speaker meant when they uttered the words that resonated with me. With the repetition, I now see clearer how I can try to replicate their success in my own life.

In a short story by Ted Chiang called Understand, there is an interesting idea. What if you could utter a sentence that would destroy someone? What if you put together a series of language notes that would ruin their life?

I’m more interested in the inverse. What if there are words that can make someone successfully in the way they want to be?

But if there are, would they work by only hearing them once?

Next time you hear words that resonate with you, get back to them in some way and understand why and what you can do with them.