The Power of the Written Word

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

I remember the day my son found these words (or words quite similar to these) on a piece of paper on my computer desk. I saw his reaction to it as he read the quote and quite immediately wanted to know if I was the author of such wisdom. Wow! I wish!!!

Unfortunately I had to burst his bubble. His Mum wasn’t as wise as he had initially thought. (Actually it took him only a nanosecond to realize that I could never come up with something that clever.) I had found the quote in a book written by Wayne Dyer and he was quoting Michelangelo. For someone’s words to live on more than 500 years after their death is nothing less than phenomenal and, if this is not a testament to the power of the written word then I don’t know what is.

Likely the dream of any writer, aside from publication, would be to have their words still being quoted more than 500 years later. No doubt even Michelangelo would be surprised at how powerful his words were. But I think more importantly than the fact that these words are still being used today is the whole meaning behind the words.

Perhaps Michelangelo was right, perhaps most of us set our aim too low. Perhaps we all need to think about what our aim is, maybe even decide to aim a bit higher. The spoken word can easily be forgotten or misquoted but the written word lives on forever. This quote of Michelangelo’s is one of my favourites. It gives me permission to dream, to reach further, and to smile over the meaning of it all.

What are your thoughts on this?

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