Are you a word wrangler? I am. Words intrigue me! In fact, a compliment like “Well said!” is high praise which can make my whole day. That is why, when I recently read somewhere that “Well done” is better than “Well said”, it really started me thinking.
Words or Actions? Both are critical for communication. Consider the artful quote that says:
“Words are the clothes thoughts wear.”Samuel Beckett
Words get our thoughts out of our heads and into an arena where they can be tangible to others. Words have the power to affect the world with ideas, sentiments, and information.
Actions accomplish what words can only suggest. They reveal true motives.
“Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be.”Author unknown
As much as I adore words, I can think of at least 3 reasons why “Well done” is better than “Well said”.
1. Actions can be seen from further than words can be heard
We all have an audience. The people close to us can hear what we have to say. But there are those who watch from further away. They cannot perceive our words as they watch what we do. Our actions speak volumes to these precious people. As the saying goes:
You’re the only Gospel that some will ever read.Unknown
2. Actions are often more carefully considered than words
Because actions take investment and energy, we don’t throw them around as recklessly as we might our words. Careless whispers, and sudden outbursts are cliché, precisely because they’re quick and easy. Actions take more planning than reactions. They may not be as bountiful as words, but they can be more meaningful.
“Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.”Mark Twain
3. Actions are indicators of the truth we believe
We can speak and write complete fiction, but we cannot live it for long. Eventually, hypocrisy catches up to us. If we chase after the “Well said” moments and neglect the “Well done”, we are, as they say, all talk and no action. People see through us quickly.
“If your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say.”Dashanne Stokes
I appreciate words. I like the way they come together to define the depths of what we know and feel. But communication is more than words, as the famous song rightly declares. And at the end of our days, we do not aim to stand before God and hear “Well said, good and faithful servant”.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”Matthew 25:21 (emphasis mine)
Considering these 3 reasons why “Well done” is better than “Well said”, I realize the caveat is in the word “well”. It seems that “Poorly said” could be less damaging than “Poorly done”, in many cases. And, as aptly exhibited by my toddler grandkids, there are surely appropriate times to elevate words over action. Asking “May I please have a turn?” is infinitely better than ripping a toy out of someone’s hands.
All being well, though, I’d rather receive “Well done” than “Well said”. Words or Actions? Is it possible to focus on both? Maybe we should strive for words IN action. What are your thoughts?
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”1 John 3:18