The words we use matter. Here are some examples of words or phrases that are especially powerful.

Once upon a time. The most powerful words in storytelling. No matter how long the story goes, or how complex it becomes, every story has a beginning.

You. Because in business or in life, the more you can focus your efforts on other people, the more they will care about what you say.

“Yes and…” The two words that keep improvisation going. Hint: they can also keep any conversation going.

What’s next? Because when you finish a project or complete an accomplishment, you move on to another. It’s all about process.

(See the end of this classic Roger Federer video for a great example of “What’s next?”)

You are not alone. Because this is what all of us desperately want: companionship amidst the confusion. Runner-up: “We’re all in this together.”

Now. There’s no time like the present. Because there’s plenty of time… but what if there’s not?

The end. These powerful words can be sad. Because everything has an ending—eventually—we should labor to do as much as we can, and enjoy the ride as long as we can, before it’s over.

About the Author

Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at

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