"There is an elegance to kindness we are born knowing."
"Because truth is God, truth is soul and truth connects us all together."
The author of A Return to Love's reasoning behind her most powerful word is simple. "Love is all that's real," she says.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the hit memoir Eat, Pray, Love, chose the Italian verb "attraversiamo."
"It means 'let's cross over,' and it's actually kind of just a modest, regular word that people use when they're crossing the street," Elizabeth said. "But I heard it for the first time when I was in Italy, and it just spoke to me, and I thought, 'This is the word for invitation, for transformation, for change, for courage,' and it's the last word of my book Eat, Pray, Love. I wanted to end it there on the idea of crossing over from the old into the new, which is what I'm always trying to do."
When Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette was asked to name her most powerful word, she chose "empathy."
"I just feel like we live in a narcissistic world, and empathy is the first quality that disappears in that kind of overly self-absorbed place," Alanis said. "[The word] speaks a lot about how connected we are."
At 64 years old, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. Her most powerful word, she said, is "dare" because it is an "inner challenge."
Bobby Williams and Mariel Hemingway
The Oscar®-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway and her boyfriend, the eco-adventurer Bobby Williams, had different answers for their most powerful words: Mariel chose "love," and Bobby picked "inspire."
Jack Kornfield, one of America's premiere Buddhist teachers, chose the phrase "compassion, please." If only people would practice more loving kindness and compassion, he said, the world would be a better place.
Rob Bell, pastor of the popular Mars Hill Bible Church and author of such books as What We Talk About When We Talk About God, said "unpigeonholeable" is the word that best describes him.
Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird and Grace (Eventually), chose the word "wow," the third prayer from her latest book, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.
Mark Nepo, author of Seven Thousand Ways to Listen and The Book of Awakening, picked "listening" because, he says, it is vital that we give our full attention to all that life has to offer.
Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and The War of Art, said that "work" is his most powerful word because being a professional writer requires so much of it.