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“Words create worlds.” – Don Eggleston

The words we hear can profoundly influence our lives.

During a recent visit with a friend, I was reminded of this truth. For better or worse, words shape who we are, how we feel, what we do and how we impact those around us. Let me explain.

Koran Bolden grew up without a father, but not without a father-figure.

His older brother, Anthony, did his best to fill that massive responsibility. Although the family lived in an impoverished community, Anthony’s drive to do better, graduate, find work and make something of his life inspired his little brother to strive similarly.

That all changed one evening. Awakened by a knock at the door, Koran got out of bed. He walked to the top of the steps and listened to the erupting chaos below. Although just eight, Koran knew his life would never again be the same when he heard his mother cry out:

“He’s gone!”

Little Koran could not cope with the grief, sadness and anger of his brother’s murder. It was an inflection point that prompted a downward slide. Although never before in trouble, Koran began making bad decisions, hanging with the wrong people and struggling mightily in school. Several teachers spoke openly about him using words that stung and he began to believe them to be true:

“…a lost cause.”

Koran longed for someone to encourage him to be who he could be, instead of repeatedly telling him who he wasn’t. The visionary Koran hoped for arrived as a school counselor named Martha Christmas. She assisted him with schoolwork, reassured him he could do it and told him repeatedly that she believed in him. She then shared words he credits with rooting all of her efforts; words that still fuel him today:

“I can’t change your past, but I can help change your future.”

A seemingly simple sentence that reminded him that his past no longer needed to define his future. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

The spark in his eyes and possibility for life returned. He graduated from high school, thrived in writing and was presented an opportunity to leave home, move to California and begin producing music. Although he’d just become a father himself, Koran planned to leave his child and pursue the opportunity, until his mother sat him down, looked him in the eyes and spoke firmly to him:

“Break the cycle, Koran. Be the man for your son your dad wasn’t for you.”

Koran heeded his mother’s advice. He declined the record deal, stayed home with his child, got a job and worked hard. Eight years ago he was married; they’ve since had two more children and enjoy a wonderful life.

Koran’s passion today is empowering kids in schools to embrace the possibility of their lives; to believe that their past doesn’t define their future.

(Koran is my most recent guest on the top 20 iTunes & Inc. Magazine Live Inspired podcast. Check out more about his story, what he’s up to today and what it means in your life here.)

My friends, the words we speak to others shape the world in which they live. What we say – and how we say it – matters in our conversations with family, coworkers and strangers. As importantly, the words we speak to ourselves create the world in which we live, too.

Words do create worlds.

Today, strive to be an agent of possibility shining in a marketplace of negativity. Choose to create a world that reminds others that the best is yet to come.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

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