Regardless of where you want to go in life, good vocabulary is just one of the skills that will help you get there. This is especially true if you’re after a new job or promotion, as research has found a high link between corporate success and vocabulary.
In the 1930s, a scientist named Johnson O’Connor began exploring just how important vocabulary is to success, and it’s a project he worked on for many decades. His studies found a relationship between executive success and an extensive vocabulary.
Later on, studies in the 1980’s and 90’s found that more than 88% of Fortune 1000 executives scored well above average on vocabulary tests, with 71% of managers scoring above average.
Vocabulary doesn’t just help you climb the corporate ladder, though; there’s also a correlation between a student’s vocabulary in 12th grade and the likelihood they will graduate college. There’s even a connection between the student’s vocabulary and their income level in the future. That’s because vocabulary size works to estimate not only your skill in reading, writing and speaking, but also your general knowledge of science and history.
While the link between vocabulary and economic success is a great reason to start improving your own vocabulary and that of your children, vocabulary can also help improve happiness, too. Words are how we communicate with others, as well as ourselves internally. They are the instrument by which we grasp the thoughts of others, and influence the way other people think, and they have a great deal of power. By improving your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings, you can improve your self-esteem and relationships. You’ll also feel good knowing you’re doing something to better yourself, which is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Because vocabulary is so strongly related to economic success, it’s important to begin early to help our children develop this skill. There are many ways to do this, including a curriculum that presents new words in a familiar context to help students identify the correct meaning unconsciously without trying to memorize long lists or forcing schools to spend a lot of time on word study.
You can also work to improve your vocabulary simply by watching television shows like The Daily Show and Frasier, which sprinkle in unfamiliar words in a natural setting. Reading enjoyable, well-edited books also helps students and adults alike absorb new vocabulary.
Developing a large vocabulary is really one of the easiest and best things you can do to improve your success and happiness in life, and that of your children. It can be as easy as reading a new book, changing the sort of programs you watch on TV or using a games-based vocabulary improvement program, so the experience doesn’t have to be unpleasant.
Language is one of our greatest gifts, and any opportunity you have to improve your language skills will put you on the path to a brighter future and fill you with the self-confidence that comes from working to better yourself as a person.