The Colors of Influence

Our words and actions have remarkable power. With them, we can create or destroy. Every day we bring beauty or pain to the world around us through who we choose to be. Unfortunately, we (myself included) often underestimate this power and fail to steward our words and actions the way we should. Sometimes it helps me to look at our impact on the world through a fresh lens.

One of my children recently used this analogy:

"We are like a box of crayons. The words we use will color the world around us."

Our children are often the source of incredible life lessons... if we take the time to understand the implications of their words.

"The words we use will color the world around us." This got me thinking... what if instead of a box of crayons, our words and actions where a collection of paint colors.

What if we approached life like it was a massive book filled with tens of thousands of pages, each day a canvas with black lines delineating the events of the day, the things we can't control? And what if our words and actions determined the colors that filled the empty spaces of each canvas?

My canvases are often filled with bright blues and greens, oranges and yellows, colors made with soft and steady strokes, patient and deliberate, seeking to bring beauty to the world around me. These are the days where I take the time to listen to those around me, seeking to understand what they are saying rather than listening simply to respond with what I think they should do, think, feel, or believe. These are the days where my children know how much I love them and are encouraged to think for themselves. These are the days where my wife knows I would do anything for her and that nothing will ever change that. These are the days where the people I work with know they can trust my intentions and my friends know I have their backs.

But then there are the days where my pages are filled with angry reds, dark grays, and varying shades of black. Haphazard strokes accentuate the hard part of the day, jagged lines shatter the possibility for anything beautiful to be painted. These are the days where I listen to respond, where I listen just enough to know someone disagrees with me, where I glean just enough to solidify an argument or perspective that I think you should have and I am more than ready to shove it down your throat. These are the days where the darkness inside me rises to the surface. These are the days where my children avoid me because who wants to be around that. These are the days where my wife is given reason to question my motives. And these are the days where the people I work with wonder if they can trust me and my friends look for somewhere else to be.

We all have these types of days, the good and the bad. And most days are a combination of happy, joyful, sincere, loving, grace-filled, and forgiving colors mixed in with angry, bitter, selfish, entitled, cruel, or arrogant ones. But the outcome of every day's canvas is determined by the colors and brush strokes we choose with our words and actions. Often, our paintings influence the outcome of other's paintings. What we choose to say, what we choose to do, who we choose to be will influence the outcome of other's days. 

Our words and actions have the remarkable power to bring beauty or pain to our children, spouses or partners, friends, neighbors, employees, and coworkers.

Our words and actions color the world around us. Choose your colors wisely.