The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Words are powerful. They are the crux of our existence as copywriters. And your choice of words is crucial in getting the results you seek, whether you’re a copywriter or not, and be it in business or in your personal life.

To compel others to do what you want them to do, words do the job. So it goes without saying that you need to choose your words. And you need to choose them carefully. Because words are more powerful than you think.

How powerful?

Words sell. They persuade. They influence. They even forge smiles, dry tears, heal wounds and abolish fears. They have the power to bring joy and laughter in an otherwise cold and somber world. And of course, words can make you rich.

But by the same token, words can also hurt.

They can create havoc out of thin air. They can drive virtual stakes through people’s hearts. They can topple companies and entire governments. And they can even kill. Because, worst of all, they can cause wars. And sadly, they often do.

Words have immense power that can be harnessed for both the good and the bad. As Edward George Bulwer Lytton wrote in 1839, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

However, I’d like to submit that words also play another (and perhaps an even greater) role. One that holds what I believe to be one of the greatest secrets there is in your business, and more importantly, in your relationships. Use words to this end, and you can achieve not only great success and wealth, but also great happiness, love and peace of mind.

So what is it?

Let me tell you why this is important before I reveal it to you.

As beautiful and comforting as words can be, they can be (and often are) the tools of choice for people who wish to cause damage, instill hatred and inflict pain with the author’s vitriol.

For example, I’m sure you’ve encountered at some point in your life some people who spewed venom against you and did so willfully and unabashedly. They attempted to denigrate or hurt you with their words. And unfortunately, they often succeeded. You’re left shocked and dismayed, wondering, “How could they?”

But that’s a double-edged sword.

Here’s a case in point: Believe it or not, some people have sent me hate mail after my last blog post about my ongoing divorce and my newfound happiness. While there were only a handful of them among a great many who were positive, congratulatory and thoughtful, some folks made the effort to ensure I knew how harshly they felt about my decision, and said certain things about me that were far from being congenial.

For one, I was labeled a “quitter.” (And I’m being tactful, here.) I was told that I’m a person who seemingly left his wife for another woman “whom I dared call my soul mate.” And then they even went on to say that, short of having my private parts cut off, I should have stayed and bit the bullet.

Worse yet, they prided themselves in saying that I would leave my “soul mate” at the drop of a hat if pastures greener would ever appear in my life. And others have jumped to conclusions without knowing the full story (which they don’t need to know), spewing their garbage in the sole attempt to throw the other person off.

Now, the question I’ve pondered was, “Should I respond?”

But I said to myself, “That person doesn’t know my situation… That person doesn’t know what happened between my ex-wife and me… That person certainly doesn’t know the circumstances behind my departure… And more importantly, that person doesn’t, and will never, truly know what led to my decision.”

Bottom line, they don’t understand.

They never will.

And it’s not their fault. Because their words are based on the little information they have. That’s all they will have, for I respect my ex-wife as to not denigrate her, especially in public.

So the question remains, “Should I respond?” The answer is “No.” I decided against it. Why? Because why would I do to this person what that person has done to me? That’s judging. “Judge ye not lest ye be judged,” right? But you see, it goes further than that.

For instance, that person may have had a bad day and reacted prematurely. That person may have undergone a divorce. That person may have had a relationship with a woman whom left him for another person. That person may have been the child of divorced parents. Or simply, that person may have a personality that’s abrasive by nature.

The latter is important, because if a person has a crass, abrasive or sulfuric personality, then it would mean nothing. It’s just who they are. But if a person is by nature kind, diplomatic and personable, then such an outburst would, in contrast, say more about the person and their attempt to vilify, as opposed to someone’s action that’s merely based on their personality.

But you see, I don’t know that. And that’s my point. I know less about their situation than they know about mine.

I hold no animosity toward my ex-wife, nor do I hold any toward the people who spewed such venom my way. Because who am I to judge? Why would I judge them and do exactly to them the very thing they are doing to me? My actions would condone the same actions I am condemning.

It would make no sense.

Then, what can I do? Nothing. So I let it go.

My sole aim in my life is to be happy. And even more important, to have peace of mind. It should be your main goal, too. And happiness is not and can never be achieved through some external thing, symbol or criterion. It comes from within. It’s something upon which I’ve expounded to a great extent in my book, now available online for free at, called “Drop Your Goals And Manage Your Life!”

To give you a glimpse, my book is about setting goals revolving around your core values (I prefer to call them “guides” rather than “goals”), and not based on external pursuits of happiness and success. Those are byproducts. They are lived, not sought.

Similarly, to react to such hostility would only perpetuate it.

I made decisions in my life in order to be happy. But contrary to certain people’s opinions, I didn’t leave an unhappy place in order to go to one I believe would make me happy. I left a place that prevented me from being happy. I left in order to allow myself to become happy.

Nevertheless, hidden in my personal story is this “other role” words play that I spoke about earlier. Master this one skill and use words to this end, and you can literally achieve all you really want in your life. I really believe that.

Because once you do, you open yourself to opportunities around you, which are often hiding right under your nose. You allow serendipity to enter your life, your relationships and your business. (Success is never a matter of luck, anyway.) You create a state of mind that’s conducive to receiving all that you deserve in your life — and feeling worthy of it, too. And you gain the peace of mind that will enable you to calmly see things for what they really are.

(And they are all lessons, by the way. Because people, good or bad, are all teachers. They are teaching you every single day, and with every single word they utter. Whether you grow hateful and spiteful from their words, or wiser and stronger, the choice is ultimately yours and yours alone.)

So what is it, then?

What is this power that words hold, which can bring such joy and happiness? What is this important role words play in your life and your business that can enrich so immensely and deeply? Aside from fact that words have the power to hurt or to help, to annoy or to persuade, to wound or to heal, what else can words do that can help you achieve all you can?

It is, simply, this…

Words have the power to forgive, too.

About The Author

Avatar of Michel Fortin
Michel Fortin is a certified SEO consultant, content strategist, and marketing advisor helping plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, and medical aesthetic clinics attract more patients. Since 1991, he helps cosmetic and aesthetic professionals increase their visibility and grow their practices. He is the author of the More Traffic Memo™ SEO email newsletter.

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