“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something” – Plato
I have often wondered what it would be like to be comfortable in silence. Unfortunately, genetics didn’t lean too favorably for me in the tranquility department. I was taught to be vocal about my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Most people would find this to be a good characteristic, but it can come with its own hardships. Trying to remain quiet while someone else is speaking when there is so much you need to say is a very difficult and arduous task for people like me that takes very concentrated effort.
I do understand the importance of effective two way communication and the various components that are vital to the process. Although models vary slightly, the concept is essentially the same.
Our internal cognitive process that gives us the ability to send, receive, and understand messages is the encoding and decoding process. If any piece of this process is missing, the end result will be ineffective two way communication which basically means something gets lost in translation. My encoders and decoders get out of whack sometimes and the only thing I know to do is “spill the beans.” For any of my readers that know me, you are probably laughing right now. I idolize those quiet people in my life because most of them are real geniuses.
An old adage suggests that although they may generally be quiet, they have the loudest minds. Someone can spend thirty minutes explaining a problem and within just a couple seconds they can blurt out one sentence that has all the answers. Absolutely amazing and truly supports the whole “two ears and one mouth” concept. Does anyone else feel like their brain processes so fast that if they don’t get it out, they will forget it? I don’t want you to believe I have some extraordinary processor up there either, so don’t get too carried away with my statement. I am still a few cards short of a full deck at times, but I have my brilliant moments.
Science has proven that the brains of people who are generally quiet are wired much differently than those like me with limited intellectual ability. Typically the correlation results in these people being much more successful in life as compared to short circuited people like myself. When I think of the quiet people I know, most of them are very successful, so I know there is some validity to that claim. When you think of the words listen and silent, they contain the same letters.
An old French proverb once said, “You need two years to learn to talk, but an entire lifetime to learn to keep quiet.”
I had a middle school teacher that would refer to students like me in the context of “Don’t get diarrhea of the mouth when answering.”
Another old company officer once said “Sometimes you have to have a filter between your brain and your mouth” and that has always stuck with me. Not that I was ever really vocal to the point of being rude, disrespectful or unprofessional, but the continued reminder that we could all learn to be a little bit smarter if we just listened a little bit more.
As I grow older, I still struggle with this one and find my brains electrical receptors going into overdrive when battling the moments to speak and when to stay quiet. For those of you that have the quiet gift naturally, I applaud you and hope to grow evermore like you. They say as we age the quieter we become mostly due to life humbling us. You begin to realize the amount of nonsense you’ve wasted your time on. I can tell you that there is some truth to this. As I grow older I have realized that sometimes the best answer is not saying anything at all. Silence can never be misquoted. We definitely live in a world where both types of people are needed and I remind myself that we can all learn to do better through mutual understanding of each other. This may be one that I have to add to my New Year’s Resolutions.