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Week 1 Master Week 2 Safety Week 3 Powerful Week 4 Bizarre Week 5 Result


To start this week, we will comment briefly on two things: connotation and denotation of words. Master is one of those words that carry both connotation and denotation, and because it does, we will need to understand the difference. Simply, denotation is what it literally means. However, connotation is not literal meaning, but what we visualize a word to mean. It is the word picture that pops up in our mind when we hear or see a word. Master carries a lot of both, but we will focus mostly on its meaning. When we get it, we master it!


Our definition has six meanings: one who rules, something having control or power, a skilled worker, a title, a matrix or mold used to make recordings or tapes and an officer as in master-at-arms. Of these definitions, one who rules and something that has power or control are the most common. In sports we think of one who has mastered his craft as being number one in his profession. Have you become number one? Go for it!


This word ‘master’ has both positive and negative word associations. Some of the negative ones are dictator and subjugate. However, there are positive associations also tied to this word. These are; ace, hero and success. These words help guide us into the correct usage of master and its affirmative position or conversely its tyrannical side. Don’t get caught up in the actions of a control freak, but err to the side of being a success and someone’s hero!


Are you a master or trainee? Let’s follow another thought: are you the instructor, a mentor or disciple? As we follow these two questions and this line of thought, we see a pattern. That pattern has an impact as to how we look at the term master. Master gives indication of one’s level of experience, performance and skill. To teach or model something for someone is to show one’s high level of skill. On the darker side is the master who uses skill to subdue, rule or vanquish others. Don’t use your skills to depress or enslave. Use them to model for others the true hero!


In a very basic way, all of us have two kinds of relationships: personal and non-personal. In personal relationships, i.e. wife, partner, BFF, the master concept is a negative issue. It can destroy personal relationships. In non-personal relationships, such as work, sports, or learning a trade, the master has a purpose as the instructor/teacher for the apprentice to learn how to do a craft under supervision and with a watchful eye. The student should learn all that he or she can to become a master craftsman. Know the rules and have a good attitude!

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This week, our word is safety. It is one of those words that most of us like to hear and feel. We most commonly associate it with being sheltered as in sanctuary or refuge. Safety brings to our mind the picture of being protected or having a low level of vulnerability. The risk to us seems to be almost none existent. It is what makes us feel safe when we lock our car doors or the locks on our homes. Like all good scouts, boys or girls, be safe and be prepared!


I think we all agree that safety means the quality or condition of being safe, as in freedom from danger or injury. The second meaning is any of certain devices for preventing an accident; as in a safety catch or locking device on a firearm. These are two definitions we are familiar with, but we also have their use in the sports field. In baseball a base hit is called a safety as well as the defensive back who covers pass receivers in a football game. Neat, huh? Game on!


One of the ways we know that we have been given safety is the signs it produces. When we see that danger has been reduced or harm averted, we know that safety is active. When we have a business or home that we want protected, we have a security system installed. That protects us from unwanted intruders. That is the core meaning of safety: to be protected from unwelcome visitors that would do harm to us. That security represents our defensive shield. Need a buffer? Activate your safety system!


What impact do you think safety has in your life? Give it some thought, and while doing so reflect on what it is like to be without safety. You have no security or protection and you are vulnerable to those unwanted intruders. You can be in danger or you can sustain an injury in an accident. Firearms without the safety on can kill. In sports, that safety (or base hit) can be the winning run. Football games have been lost because the defensive backfield was out-played. No safety, no win. Know safety, know win. Yeah!


For those who like sports, we will use a football play to illustrate safety in a relationship. In football, a safety is a play in which the defensive team is awarded two points for tackling the offensive ball carrier behind the offensive team’s goal line. In a relationship, this is not what you want – an offensive safety. However, you do want safety in your relationship. You want to have security and be free from injury or damage to the relationship. How is that done? Simple teamwork. Go team!

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With this week’s word, we will start with what it is not. We will look at some antonyms, like: weak, impotent or incompetent. These are negative words. Powerful is a strong and positive word, but we must be careful how we use it. Overuse of this word takes the punch out of its meaning. Three primary spheres or senses give this word its meaning and those are strong, wielding power and effective. Wisdom is needed when using this word because you do not want to overpower the listener. As Teddy Roosevelt said, walk softly and carry a big stick!


The definition for powerful is mighty, all-powerful, almighty, omnipotent, invincible, dominant and commanding. Those words all pertain to wielding power which is the most used sense of the word. But robust, stalwart and sturdy also give another sense of powerful as being one of strength. Powerful used in the sense of effective is not a common use. Being effectual or convincing is the least used sense of the word. Refuse to be a wimp. Be effective and powerful!


What are some ways that we can see what powerful means? How can we feel the influence of the powerful? The answer to both questions is the words we associate and use to describe what we understand. Someone who is athletic, active and dynamic would picture what powerful means. A figure that is expressive, intense and effective in action also portrays this meaning for us. That friend who seems to be vigorous and untiring also provides a snapshot of strength and influence. Each of the forgoing examples forms an artist’s canvas that we can see. Powerful does not always have to mean violence and domination. Don’t be overbearing, just stand firm!


Being persuasive is an art, a skill that some have as a natural ability but others must learn. One of the characteristics of a powerful person is being persuasive. The skill of a powerful person is to be an influence on others without being forceful in a negative way. A ruler must be a person of authority. So also is the chief executive of a business, large or small. Government leaders also must be authoritative in their actions as they serve the people. Being powerful in a positive, uplifting way is how good leaders set the example. Don’t mope and grumble, grab a rope and lead!


A powerful relationship is a goal that we all should have. As we know, relationships fall into two general categories. Close relationships that involve family, especially wives and children are special. We should focus a lot of time and attention in that direction. We also need to focus attention on improving our relationships with friends and associates like those at work or organizations that we are involved with. We should look for actions we can take to strengthen our relationships. The more we reach out to others, the more power we have to impact others in a positive manner. Don’t be reactive, be proactive!

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We commonly use this adjective as an exclamation as in: Bizarre! When we see something that strikes us as out-of-the-ordinary, it is common to respond with surprise and intense interest. Halloween is just around the corner, and with it, we may see things that are outrageous and unusual. We may react with feelings of something ranging from the laughable to the outlandish. Bizarre things are not normal or common occurrences. So, don’t be strange, just be uncommon!


This is one of those adjectives that we seldom use. How do we define it? How do we use it? Bizarre comes from a French word “bizarro.” In French, it means angry, fierce or strange. But in English, we use it to mean: one-very odd in manner or appearance even to being grotesque. Its second definition is to be marked by extreme contrasts and incongruities of color, design or style. The third use is most common as in the unexpected and unbelievable or fantastic. Don’t just be humdrum, be bizarre!


Some of the signs or symptoms of bizarre are to be odd, strange, eccentric or grotesque. After a tornado or hurricane has passed, we see some bizarre results. Straw impaled in the bark of a tree or a boat, high and dry, wedged between two buildings. A house with roof and wall stripped away but the furniture still in place untouched. It is these strange and uncommon visual occurrences that highlight the meaning of bizarre. Such experiences are not normal daily events; therefore, our use of bizarre should be rare. Save it for use with the grotesque and unusual. Unaccustomed to the bizarre? You should be!


Does the bizarre have an impact in your life? With most of us, the bizarre has little or no impact on our daily lives. If it does, you are living or working in an arena where this happens with unusual frequency. The bizarre is not meant to be normal. The normal for the bizarre is to be outlandish or outrageous and most of us are unaccustomed to such events. A daily occurrence of the bizarre is unprecedented. Don’t be bizarre, just be cool!


A bizarre relationship is not desirable. Why? A bizarre relationship can only be described as unnatural. Any relationship that is marked by extreme contrast is stressful. A relationship between any two humans is going to have stress. It is only a matter of how much or how little stress. In a bizarre relationship, it is going to be marked by extremes of contrast otherwise, it would not be bizarre. In our world today, there is enough normal stress without adding to it by assuming a relationship that is one of extremes. So don’t stress out with extremes, go with the flow!

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Today, a storm is expected to hit the northeastern US and the result is expected to be great damage. For our word this week, there are some helpful synonyms, as in: aftermath, conclusion, development and outcome. Each of these words gives us view of what result can mean. The aftermath of the storm is terrible damage. The development of the storm caused great fear. The outcome of the storm left many people in distress. Result will most likely have a cause. Don’t be a cause, make results!


The definition for result is fairly simple. The first definition is to proceed or arise as a consequence, effect or conclusion. For example: death resulted from the disease. The second definition is to have an issue or result. For example: the disease resulted in death. In other words, result is a condition or occurrence traceable to a cause. When we think of the super storm moving through the northeast today, there will be result or an aftereffect of what the storm has produced. The expected fruit of the storm is pain, suffering and damage. So, don’t be a pain, produce good fruit!


The effect or result of an action we take becomes a sign or symptom. Some signs of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy are flooding, extensive damage to homes and businesses. As the 100 year storm moves on to Canada, it continues to leave devastation in its wake. This devastation is the result of a rare weather occurrence. The influx of cold artic air from Canada, a deep fall cold front from the west and a late season Atlantic hurricane all met in the northeastern U.S. to produce extensive damage to roads businesses and power systems. This was a result hard to predict. At times like this, be helpful!


For result, we will normally see it as an effect upon or to something. The result of superstorm Sandy is its impact upon the lives and activities of millions in the northeastern states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The effect was wide-spread damage to homes, business and utility companies. The result of superstorm Sandy will take months to repair and the cost will be in the billions. The final result will create issues, backwash and unexpected outcomes. Don’t be a part of the problem, create solutions!


What is the result of a relationship? To better understand this usage and the question, let’s return to the definition. First, how does a relationship proceed or the consequence that arises from it? Secondly, what issue(s) arise from the relationship? Any relationship will develop over time. As the relationship makes progress, look for and assess the issues that develop. The outcome (result) will be a positive or negative development. That product of the relationship will be seen as good or bad. You will want good results. Create the positive!

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