Words Matter: How a Movie Changed The Way I Communicate

Have you ever been inspired by a movie? “A Thousand Words” starring Eddie Murphy, changed my perception of communication. The movie plot surrounds the sudden appearance of a mysterious tree in Jack McCall’s (Eddie Murphy) backyard after Jack stretches the truth to make a business deal. It hints that Jack’s life completely depends on this tree- whose leaves represent every word (verbal and written) Jack uses to communicate with other people. Whenever Jack does something bad to the tree, he experiences the same feeling. This means as the tree loses leaves- which happens when Jack talks—it speeds up the age process of the tree and sooner it will perish, and so will Jack.

Wasting words

Watching Jack continue to struggle with his word limit and try to communicate with others using the fewest words possible, I realized how sometimes I’ve been wasting my words talking about unnecessary things. I know I am privileged to have the ability to speak, learn different languages, and communicate in those languages. But I must learn to say positive and uplifting words in suitable situations to encourage others.

Realizing the value

Moreover, as the tree is about to perish, Jack learns he can survive only by healing the broken relationships, miscommunications, and conflicts he is suffering. He does this by carefully choosing and using all of the words (leaves) he has left. Once he completes this quest, he is given another chance at living a much happier life realizing the value of his words.

Communication is not just talking

Although it’s a comedy, the message the movie delivers is significantly powerful. It makes me rethink about how many relationships I’ve missed due to lack of communication, miscommunication, or lack of care and support. Moreover, I understand how I should apply different communication approaches to different people based on their personalities, hobbies, and concerns. I also learned that communication is not just about talking, but also about listening and sympathizing. I see how words can be constructive as well as destructive.

The next time you want to say something to someone, take a moment and think about these questions: Are the things I’m going to say benefit the person? Will my words hurt them? Do these words truly express what I want to convey? How should I say this to get my opinion not misunderstood? Because as a saying goes, “The tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart.” Be careful with your words if you don’t want to wake up one day and terrified about having a tree in your backyard counting every word you say!

Have you ever been inspired by a movie? Please share with the Pearson student community below in the comments!

 

 

 

Mai Nguyen is an international student from Vietnam, currently studying at Liberty University. She is double majoring in International Business and Professional Sales and minoring in Mandarin Chinese. She is the current Pearson Campus Ambassador at Liberty University and a Math Tutor at her school’s Math Emporium. Studying foreign languages, public speaking, watching cooking tutorials, and listening to music are her deepest passions.

Mai is a Pearson Student Insider. To learn more about the program and apply, click here.

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