The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

You’re Something Special

A Lexicon of Life-Lifting Words


By Ron Ross

Ever wonder why our culture is so negative and our language so nasty? One reason is that the English language has around 5,000 negative words, but only a shade more than 1,200 positive words, according to

The result is our conversations can easily be critical, pessimistic, and ill-mannered. After all, is there anything easier to do than be judgmental and disapproving? But does that mean we are destined to always use life-stealing and heart-hurting words? Of course not.

It’s a matter of focus and practice. When we focus on the negative we see all that’s bad, then describe and deride whatever we see. We get a lot of practice using our fair share of those 5000 negative words.

What would happen if we made a personal decision to stop our focus on the negative and start to look for and talk about the good? I’ll tell you what, our lives will change for the better.

As I read through the over 1,200 positive words listed on the website, I took note of 147 of them that, for some reason, captivated me. I thought, “I need to focus on these positive words, I need to change my vocabulary, and these words will help me!”

So, for the next who-knows-how-many weeks, I will choose one or two of those 147 positive words to share with you.

I will examine their origin, how they may have changed over the years, how they apply to our culture at large and how and why we should use them in our daily conversations. In the process, I hope to inspire you and me to develop a more vibrant, interesting, and life-lifting vocabulary.

The words I’ve chosen are common to your vocabulary. You know how to pronounce them and how to use them in sentences. My mission is to get you (and me) to use them; to challenge us to minimize the use of negative words and to re-energize our positive vocabulary.

Words are powerful, you know. Words can hurt, and they can heal. Words can inform, and words can confuse. Words can lift up, and words can put down. Which way we use them is up to us.

Rudyard Kipling called words, “…the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Another author wrote, “Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

Listen to your own words and the words from those around you. From which list do your words come – the long list of negative words or the short list of positive words? Your words can have surprising power, amazing authority, and alluring charm. Well, the right words can, and there is only one person who decides what kind of words come out of your mouth, and it’s you.

With each positive word explored, you will gain the tools to converse in ways that will impress your friends, and improve your life. The challenge is to rid your vocabulary of the pessimistic, malicious, and moronic words. Then, to replace them with joy-advancing, love-promoting, life-lifting words you will rediscover in this important “Lexicon of Life-Lifting Words.”

(c)2018 Dr. Ronald D. S. Ross

Note: “We have 60,000 thoughts per day and 80% are negative…” The Power of the Heart, Baptist de Pape, page 72

1 Patrick Rothfuss

©2014 Ronald D. Rosss

To read all of Dr. Ross’ columns visit Subscribe to his weekly newsletter and receive your free copy of Acquire Confidence, a compilation of Acquire Confidence columns.

Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley. Dr. Ross is also the Voice of Tidbits Radio on 1310KFKA Every Sunday from 11am – noon. He is available to speak at your service club or other event. Dr. Ross posts this blog each week on To contact him email: or call 970.475.4829.