The smarter you are, the less you speak. –Arabic proverb
I’ve noticed something over the past few months, perhaps even longer: I say too many unnecessary things. And other people, much more so.
It’s an innate human drive to want to express ourselves. We socialize and bond with other human beings with words. We like to share our opinions and feelings just because it’s satisfying, not necessarily because it leads to something useful. And that’s where the problem is.
Just because you feel like expressing yourself, it doesn’t mean you should.
Far too many people say needless things because they want to. They want to get whatever they have “off” their chest, meaning its a purely emotional need that they wish to satisfy. But no, a mature man must practice self-discipline. A man of strength must be more prudent with his words; he must only strike when he needs to.
Like the unnecessary scratching of the head or fiddling of the fingers, needless words betray insecurity. How often do we see men whimpering out the word “sorry” over nothing? How often do we see men whining and complaining instead of doing something about it?
(And if you feel the urge to say something just because the silence is discomforting, learn to get used to it. Silence is normal.)
As always, actions speak louder than words. Man of action doesn’t cover his short-comings by blabbering; he gets busy and he gets things done.
The advent of the internet and its myriad of social media has given a rise to a culture of talking heads. Now, anyone with an internet access can go online to express themselves to their heart’s content. Let’s face it, people love drama and they love feeling like they matter. And yes, there are some useful exchange of ideas, but almost everything expressed on the world wide web is useless opinions of people who love to let everyone else know what they think and what they feel. It’s a product of our 21st century narcissism epidemic.
I myself was one of those people (and I guess I still am if you count this blog), but I recently realized how silly the whole thing is. Besides the emotional satisfaction having vented out, what do I get exactly? Likes and upvotes to feel validated by other faceless people I don’t know?
The plain fact is this: Letting the world know what you think and feel has very little benefit, but comes with a potentially high cost.
Now, it is possible to use your rhetoric to rally people to a cause. You will likely polarize the people, but gain ardent followers as well. You might even be using your rhetoric to teach and enlighten others who follow your line of thinking. All of those are fine. The problem is when people go on the internet just to bitch about what they hate and to blow off steam onto their “enemies” to feel good about themselves. I can’t even describe how much of a waste of time that is, but people do it all the time.
Criticizing someone or something is one of the most common offense—one that I am prone to. It doesn’t matter if you’re right and the other person is dead wrong, the modicum of satisfaction you get from venting out is not worth the potential consequences. You might needlessly alienate people and ruin your own reputation in the process. It is something that needs to be done with careful consideration towards your target and your audience.
Also, by letting others know what you think and feel about certain political issues, all without being strategic about it, you can put yourself at a disadvantage when your words come back to haunt you. When people find out about your political opinions, they immediately label you or put you on some scale. The way they view you will not change easily. Some people don’t mind and actually love showing off their pride regarding whatever beliefs, opinions, and groups they affiliate themselves with. But if you’re in a position of power and have a specific goal in mind, you must be an enigma. You must focus on your vision and keep unimportant opinions to yourself. You can’t be swayed by petty matters; you must be sly in the game of power.
As an example, I remember reading about a tycoon in South East Asia where no one knew anything about his political affiliation or anything else of significance other than his name, nationality, and date of birth. As another example, the manager of the Beatles, Brian Epstein, told the band to keep their football and religious affiliations to themselves to avoid alienating any fans.
Finally, it is especially dangerous to spill out all your opinions on the internet with the SJWs and governments waiting to use it against you. Many people have already lost their jobs for posting simple messages on Facebook or Twitter that express their political opinions. I don’t condone censorship or having people fired for different opinions, but people should know better by now. And with government tracking almost everything you do online and elsewhere, they most likely know what you think and where you stand on the political spectrum. They may not be doing anything with it now, but who knows what will transpire in the future?
I will continue to post articles about what I think are important for people know, but I have decided to refrain from making needless comments that do nothing to further my cause. Everything will now be calculated. Like many others, I still have that youthful urge to express myself and end up slipping from time to time, but I intend to be better disciplined from now on.
Learn to appreciate the power of silence.