#5: Actions vs. Words


The first quote I chose from Simon Sinek was the one he kept repeating, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In the context of the Ted Talk, “buy” means to purchase, since many (though not all) examples are about business. But the other meaning of buy, to understand, is the meaning I’m focused on.

“What you do simply proves what you believe.” A lot of people say actions speak louder than words, but I think they work in tandem. Both are ways of communicating our thoughts and opinions, verbally or not.  I think the reason why I don’t like the “actions speak louder than words” sentiment is because it frames action as the superior way of communication. The same way we prize athletes over writers, rooting for our favorite sports team in favor of sitting down to read.

There are plenty of people who favor the latter (me included), but in American society today, athletics is revered over most other fields. In schools especially, with cuts being made to arts department left and right. It could contribute to the reason why my school has two gyms, versus not enough money to buy new paint cans that aren’t moldy.

With my topic, it wasn’t easy for me to get specific with kids with physical disabilities in high schools, even if I wasn’t looking at Vermont. I did find a really cool video series Apple did called “Accessibility”, showcasing their adaptable features on Apple products and real people with disabilities using them in their daily lives.

The videos ranged from a woman named  Shane who is a music teacher of a middle school and uses the assistive technology to connect to hearing aids. To a young girl named Meera (pictured above, middle) who’s loves to play soccer and has a leg brace, that used TouchChat on her iPad to form sentences and communicate with others. I really appreciate the way the videos were made, because they didn’t frame it as “Oh wow! Look at how inspirational and brave these people are!” It was framed as “these people are using our product/assistive technology to help enhance their daily lives.” I took inspiration from these videos to assist me if the documentary about this topic comes to fruition. It will be important to capture the normalcy of people with physical disabilities when the audience might not associate it as “normal”.

The second resource I found was about a woman named Alex Trusdell living in New York. She founded the Adaptive Design Association and creates adaptive furniture for children with disabilities-made out of cardboard. Cardboard is cheap and easy to mold, families burdened by medical costs don’t have to pay big bucks to give their child accessible furniture. It’s a great thing Trusdell is doing, of course, but I thought, cardboard?  When you contrast that with what Apple is doing, it makes you question how far we’ve really come. According to PBS News, “Only 5 percent of people with disabilities around the world finish primary school” (March 2016).  If insurance covered more and medical costs weren’t so high, would Trusdell be able to use longer-lasting materials? Probably. But changing systems like that is easier said than done.

In American society, we place importance on action over words. This is evident in schools, like I mentioned earlier, it’s evident in ads (Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is a prime example,) and its evident in the disabled community. Growing up, the concept of gym class gave me an anxiety attack. I always opted out, or skipped it, whenever I could. I’m hoping this documentary will shed light on the real perspectives of teachers and parents, but most of all the kids with disabilities, and what’s being done in schools to change the fear I had every time we played dodge ball.


Thanks for reading,







Featured Image by Apple











Lindsey Drew

4 Responses to “#5: Actions vs. Words

  • Hi Lindsey!

    I’m glad you enjoyed and learned from the Sinek video, it’s one of my favorite Ted Talks! You seem to be getting good ideas about what you want to convey in your documentary. I strongly encourage you though to think about how you’re going to convey it. Sinek’s WHY, HOW, and WHAT approach is a really incredible way to organize your thinking. I’m guessing you already have an idea about why you’re passionate, how you want to make a chance, and what you’re going to do (or what you want your audience to do) but how are you going to show that in your work and in your documentary?

    Great job and good luck!

    • Hi Emily!

      This is a great thing to think about moving forward. “Show, don’t tell” is something that will play a key part in the making of this documentary as it becomes clearer. Thanks so much!

  • Comparing actions/words to sports/literature is an interesting way to look at it. It is definitely interesting to look at what our society prizes over other things, and why.

    • I agree, Mariana, which is why I decided to talk about it a little bit in this post. What our society values is a big part of how we treat individuals, for better or worse. Maybe that thought could help you a little with your topic on art therapy? You could talk about the stigma around the arts versus other endeavors, if you aren’t doing that already.


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