Your Voice

Your Voice: Actions speak louder than words

In doing, we not only remember better, but we make a more concrete impact.

Your Voice: Actions speak louder than words
The first proverb I learned at school was: “If everybody cleans in front of their house, the whole city will be clean.” I was in seventh grade, and we had started to learn English by repeating meaningful proverbs and learning good habits from other culture. 

I took this proverb to mean that actions count, no matter how small. But I also realized that learning through actions — by reciting proverbs — worked well for me. Things learned “by doing” stayed longer in my memory.

I had seen another example of this many years before while working with a British colleague. Bill, as he liked to be called, would walk from his office to nearby areas for work-related matters. We would go out regularly together for inspections. As we walked, Bill would pick up any pieces of metal he’d see on the road. They could be abandoned screws, bolts, nails, or any such items.

Bill’s motivation was related to safety; he was concerned that the metal pieces would be harmful to humans or vehicles. He would make minor detours to act on his belief in “safety first,” collecting what many other people would not even notice.   

Bill put what he had picked up over the years in a large glass jar at his house. I saw it once. It must have contained a small fortune in salvaged metals that weighed many kilos. 

I’m not sure what happened to that large jar, but I know that Bill’s small but persistent actions promoted safety and were symptomatic of his wider attention to detail and thoughtful outlook on life. 

Similarly, my own learning through actions enables me to recall — still, after many decades — the perfect proverb, as previously stated, to describe what happens when everyone plays their part, no matter how small. The result is that the big picture looks after itself and is brought into focus, clear and bright.

Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.


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