Russell Fowler

The Great Equalizer

Russell FowlerBreaking the Walls

When I was growing up in a small house with conservative parents, I learned quickly not to express my emotions about certain things (at least not in public). For example, a teacher might ask me a question like “Russell we’ve just a read a piece on abortion. What are your thoughts on the subject?” Often, I would feel very uncomfortable answering that type of question in public. Given the opportunity to write about the topic, however, I was surprised at the level of ease with which my opinions on the subject filled the page. It was as if somehow putting my thoughts on a piece of paper freed me from previous constraints. I quickly gained confidence and an appreciation for this foreign craft. As a result of finding newfound confidence in writing, I am now able to openly express my opinions in public as well.

Equalizing the Playing Field

There is a process called writing and those who discover it are outspoken about its benefits and importance. Most of us say, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Many love lists and structure and when it comes to undertaking daily tasks, we seek direction. But writing can be an emotional and intellectual liberator. It can offer a rhythm, a symmetry, an unspoken beauty that can be applied to other things as well. If you respect writing, it will work with you.

In a world bogged down by titles and hierarchies, writing gives us an opportunity regardless of background and position to articulate ourselves. I recently had the opportunity to meet the President of my university as a freshman. I purposefully chose writing to contact him because I knew my writing skills far outweighed my verbal skills. The ability to write prevented me from losing my train of thought. When speaking, all words are live, and it is harder to revise once the words hit the air. I knew that in speaking I could be betrayed by nervousness, non-verbal cues, pacing, and tics. I appreciate that writing gives me a chance to think and review. It offers a critical pause. In writing, I had the chance to say exactly what I wanted to say. During this process of surveying word choices and making decisions, I was reminded of a passion of mine: business.      

  When words are put to paper, companies often leverage their reputation and profits. In a competitive environment where confidence is key, the ability to write effectively can have a profound impact on investors, business plans, etc. The businesses that realize the benefits may find themselves immune to the invisible ceilings that may limit their counterparts.

Writing is powerful. As most of us know, writing is the great equalizer that allows us to transcend job titles and paychecks. Like a magic trick, putting words to paper grants the writer an authority to voice ideas and emotions. I, for one, am so grateful for this incredible gift.