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Talk, talk, talk.
Everywhere I go, people talk incessantly. Trying to convince, persuade, justify, entertain, or simply fill empty space with sound.
I was like that, too.
If someone asked me a simple question, I’d respond with a 15-minute monologue packed with details they cared nothing about and didn’t need to know.
Nowadays, social media magnifies the rampant “verbal diarrhea” disease.
People feel compelled to obsessively blabber on about every insignificant minutiae of their daily lives. I have a “friend” on Facebook who regularly posts updates such as “Going to the bathroom now!”. I kid you not!
Do you know people like that?
What about you? Do you talk way too much?
Here’s the thing, though:
There is enormous power in silence.
Harness the power of silence and change your life!
Sounds like a pretty bold claim, eh?
Read on and decide for yourself.
First, we’ll look at the why and how. Then you’ll get an action plan to harness your power of silence.
Inner vs. Outer Energy
There are different kinds of energy.
In school, you learned about many of them – electrical energy, chemical energy, light energy, and so forth. These are measurable energies.
But there is a subtle energy within, as well.
This energy is often overlooked (at least in the West) and not so measurable.
It’s akin to the ki in Japan, the qi (pronounced chee) in China, and the prana in India.
When you’re plagued by an unpleasant thought, you use this subtle, internal energy to either fight against the intrusive thought, generate other thoughts to combat it, or try to push it aside so you don’t have to think about it at all.
If you have lots of conflicting or unpleasant thoughts, you expend a lot of inner energy.
You exert energy generating thoughts, recalling other thoughts, holding on or pushing away thoughts, creating emotions, pushing against impulses and inner urges, controlling feelings, developing plans, etc.
The best way to describe it is by using an example that I’m sure you’re familiar with.
Let’s say you met this wonderful guy. He’s perfect, and you want nothing more than to be with him, talk about him, and do things for him.
He’s your soulmate (you just know it!), and you picture a wedding and 50+ years of wedded bliss in your future.
You’re full of energy, aren’t you? You wake up early, jump out of bed, and spend all day doing things together. You don’t even feel the need to eat! You’re bursting with joy and excitement.
You’re overflowing with an overabundance of energy.
Then, one day, your dream guy takes off. He won’t return your texts. You check his Facebook page and discover pictures of him kissing another girl on a beach in Florida. You’re deflated, betrayed, defeated, confused, and angry.
What happens then?
You crawl into bed. You wail about the injustice. After you’ve spent that energy, you’re just too tired to do anything.
You stay in bed. You have no energy to get up and cook, so you order pizza.
The delivery person rings the doorbell. You trudge over to the door, and it feels like you’re walking through thick sand because your legs don’t want to move.
Lifting your arms to take the pizza is a monumental task because they feel like they weigh 30 pounds each.
You trudge back to bed, eat a slice, but it has no flavor. So you throw the box on the floor and roll over to go back to sleep.
Days go by, but you still don’t have enough energy to go anywhere or see anyone.
Clothes pile up on the floor, and you don’t even have the wherewithal to pick up your phone when it rings.
You know your voicemail is full, but it’s too much effort to deal with, so you crawl back under the covers.
What happened to your energy?
This subtle, inner energy doesn’t come from food or exercise. You can gain or lose this kind of energy in an instant.
You don’t think so?
What happens when your phone rings one day after moping around lying in bed for 3 weeks, and you see that your dream guy is calling?
You grab the phone and answer.
He starts apologizing to you. He tells you he realizes his mistake, and that you’re the only girl for him. He needs to be with you, and you’re the best thing that ever happened to him.
Suddenly, you burst out of bed, suffused with enormous energy. You run around grabbing all the pizza boxes and clothes off the floor because he’s on his way over. You run into the bathroom to shower and put some makeup on.
In an instant, your energy is back.
You meet your guy, and you stay up all night talking and laughing. You go out to a club and dance the night away. You don’t even feel tired!
This is subtle, inner energy.
Speaking Dissipates Your Energy
Have you ever gotten excited as you anticipate some new thing you’re going to do?
For example, maybe you decided to get fit once and for all and shed some extra weight.
You went online and discovered a new diet and exercise regimen. You envisioned how incredible you’re going to look and feel in a measly 8 weeks, and suddenly, you’re erupting with energy and excitement. You can’t wait to tell everyone and anyone!
Soon, you’re online posting your plans for everyone to see. You call your friends and tell them about it. You even tell the cashier as you’re checking out at Walmart. Everyone must know!
But then, a funny thing happens. You’ve expended so much energy sharing it with the world that the next morning, when it’s time to get up and start exercising, it doesn’t seem so amazing anymore.
Yeah, it’s still awesome, but you just don’t have the immense energy you had yesterday. You can’t muster the gumption to jump out of bed and start sweating. It’s lost a lot of its luster by now.
Why is that?
Sure, talking is easier than doing.
But that’s not it.
You’ve dissipated your energy.
You spread it out far and wide, and now there’s less inside.
The gallons of propellant – your fuel – has dwindled to a few measly drops.
Now it’s just easier to hit the snooze button, roll over, pull the blanket over your head, and go back to sleep instead.
So, that’s what you do.
The Draining Power of Speech
Speech can be a double-edged sword. I mean, we all know that words contain immense power.
Words can change the world, save a life, take a life, elevate and denigrate.
But there is a time and a place for words.
Words should be carefully planned and well-thought-out before you throw them out into the world nilly-willy.
If you have kids, you’ve probably admonished your child to “think before they speak”, but how many adults follow the same advice?
Not very many.
Here’s the thing:
Carefully-chosen words are impactful, but the disease infesting our world today is the incessant blabbering (what I call “verbal diarrhea”) exuding from nearly everyone on every front.
Think about it…
You open your phone, and you’re bombarded with words – texts, social media posts, clickbait headlines, ads, emails, and so forth.
How much of that influx of verbiage is truly meaningful to your life? How much is just distraction and nonsense?
Turn on the computer – same thing. Turn on the TV – same thing. Get in your car and turn on the radio – same thing. Visit your friends – lots of verbal diarrhea there, too.
Too many people talk, talk, talk but say very little, don’t you think?
Don’t be like them.
How many times have you felt “worn out” simply because you spent much of your day talking? It doesn’t even take an entire day full of talking. Sometimes, we get physically and emotionally exhausted after a difficult 5-minute conversation!
Speech expends energy. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking, listening, or simply processing it in your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s internal or external.
Can We Measure This Mental Energy?
You can’t walk into Home Depot and buy a voltmeter to measure the subtle, inner energy that speech consumes.
However, scientists have indirectly shown that this energy exists, and that it has physiological effects.
Here’s a sampling of pertinent studies:
- A 2014 study examined 3 groups of students who had a goal. One group was the control, one group felt they would succeed, and one felt they probably wouldn’t succeed. For those who felt they would succeed, their blood pressure went down, and their ability to grip a handgrip went up. Those who felt they wouldn’t succeed had a higher blood pressure and a shorter grip time. The study indicated that thoughts alone create a physiological effect on blood pressure and muscle strength.
- Heart-Rate Variability Coherence is a complex mechanism that include various physical and mental factors. Scientists are using this measurement, however, to quantify physiological effects of inner energies, including those brought about by beliefs, thoughts, and speech. I can’t do the topic justice in such a short amount of space, but I encourage you to delve into it more deeply if you’re interested in learning more about quantifying subtle energies.
- Measuring the Immeasurable includes a compendium of studies on the subject with varying degrees of measurable validity. However, this book explores a lot of theories and spirituality-based concepts from various sources, as well, so it may interest you – or you might find it disdainful. If you already think you know everything there is to know about religion, spirituality, and how the universe works, you may automatically dismiss the ideas presented. Just sayin’…
The Enormous Power of Silence
So, you know that words have power, speech takes energy, and most people use both way too often.
Now let’s learn more about the enormous power of silence.
First, though, think back and see if you can remember a time when someone’s silence spoke volumes.
I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend once. We, like everyone else in the restaurant, were nonchalantly chatting away about our daily lives.
The restaurant was abuzz with lots of simultaneous conversations. Everyone in the restaurant was focused either on their lunch partner or their phones.
Then, a man walked in, accompanied by 4 friends. There was nothing physically different about the guy. He was about 5’10”, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Nothing spectacular or eye-catching.
But he exuded an amazing presence.
His face was serene, and he moved with a fluid grace that belied his streetwise, casual garb. In an instant, a hush fell over the restaurant as the diners turned to look at him.
Soon, people lost interest and returned to their conversations. The silence was filled once again with chatter and the clanging of silverware.
But for a few moments, this man’s silent (but powerful) energy filled the room, capturing the attention of maybe 40 or 50 people simultaneously.
Some people just refer to this phenomenon as “presence”, as in “That person has a compelling presence!”. Some refer to it as someone’s “aura”.
I say it’s energy. Inner energy.
It’s the same energy that gets dissipated when you’re rushing here and there, spewing out words and ideas like those people who stand on parade floats throwing out candy to everyone on the sidewalk.
What happens when you conserve that energy, though?
Lots of amazing things!
Take a look:
1. You Get More Done – with Less Effort & Shield Yourself from the Bullshit
What happens when you post anything online these days?
When you’re ready to do something different or new, and you mention it to your family and friends, what happens?
Invariably, people spout off with all the reasons why that’s a stupid idea. They point out why you’ll never do it. They try to convince you it’s a bad idea. That you’re not even capable. They even make it personal and start criticizing you about negative traits they think you possess that have nothing to do with the topic!
Let’s face it: People suck sometimes.
But what happens if, instead, you get a great idea, but you say nothing to no one?
I’ll tell ya 😊.
- You’re motivated.
- You’re energized. And the energy stays where it needs to be – inside. It fuels you to get up early and work late into the wee hours of the morning.
- You exude an enigmatic glow that makes everyone else curious – and sometimes jealous.
- People start to look at you with awe, wonder, and respect.
- You focus with laser-targeted precision.
So next time you feel like telling the world this or that, shut the fuck up.
Tuck it deep inside, and make a pact with yourself that this is just between you and whatever higher powers you believe exist. Let it suffuse and energize your entire being and propel you forward to your finish line.
Then – and only then – are you allowed to come forth to show everyone what you’ve achieved.
2. People Listen
I have a friend that never shuts up. Maybe you know someone like that, too.
She talks so much, that I automatically tune out 90% of what she says.
It’s not intentional.
When you’re inundated with words, your mind can only focus on and ingest so much.
There have been a lot of studies and statistics thrown around regarding the “average attention span” of an adult. Of course, the numbers vary, but they almost always fall between 6 minutes and 10 minutes.
The bottom line is:
The more you talk, the less people listen – or care.
But let’s say you change your ways and become a woman of silence.
You speak very little, but listen a lot.
What happens when you do open your mouth?
People take notice. They lean in close, eager to hear what you’re about to say.
You’ve taught them that you’re someone who thinks carefully before you speak, picking and choosing only the most important facts and ideas to share. They know that what does sporadically come out of your mouth actually matters.
They listen – intently.
I know this to be true, because my father was a man of very few words.
He only spoke when he felt he had something important to contribute, and only after investing a great amount of thought into whether he should say anything at all. Half the time, he’d start a sentence, then think better of it and quit – never finishing his sentence!
When he volunteered to share his incredible mind with me, you better believe I stopped and listened!
Unfortunately, I was young and foolish and thought I knew better, so I didn’t heed his wisdom and advice as often as I should have. But I most definitely shut up and listened on those rare occasions when he opened his mouth.
You can do the same.
Try it for a week and see what changes for you.
Take a pen and write a note to remind yourself on your inner wrist. Just write “Shut the fuck up!”. Then do it. Assess the results at the end of the week (go mark your “review session” in your calendar right now!).
3. You Raise Your Esteem
There’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln (but reiterated by many) that says,
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”.
How many times have you said something, then later realized that you spoke to soon?
How many blatantly false or idiotic statements have you spewed forth in your lifetime?
For me, I’d say it’s too many to count 😊.
If you’re like the masses – speaking every thought and idea as soon as they pop into your head – you’re bound to look like a fool pretty often.
If you choose to embrace your silent power, though, and become a woman of few words, people will deem you wise, knowledgeable, and worthy of respect and admiration.
Don’t take my word for it, though!
Implement the power of silence in your own life, then judge for yourself.
More Crucial Reasons to Embrace the Power of Silence
I could list probably a hundred reasons why everyone should harness the power of silence in their lives, but these two reasons stand out:
1.Talking Often Does More Harm than Good
This one’s pretty obvious, when you think about it, especially when strong emotions are involved.
How many times has anger surged through your veins during a heated argument and, in an instant, words are spoken whose sting lingers for years to come?
How many people are sitting in a jail cell right now because, in the heat of the moment, they opened their mouth when they should have just shut the fuck up?
It reminds me of this video I found on YouTube offering the same sage advice from a couple of lawyers:
Next time you feel the need to explain something to someone ad nauseum, remind yourself to just shut the fuck up instead.
Write the phrase “Shut the Fuck Up” everywhere if you think you won’t remember.
- Put it on a notecard and stick it in your wallet.
- Imprint it on a silicone bracelet and always wear it.
- Repeat it in your head before you walk into that meeting.
- Make it into a jingle and sing it while driving.
- Make it into a meme and set it as your desktop or phone wallpaper.
- Make it your mantra. Make it your lifestyle.
2. People Don’t Care as Much as You Think They Do
You probably talk a lot for the same reason most people do – you think other people care!
They want to know what you know, right?
I hate to break it to you, but that truth is, they usually don’t.
Did you know that:
- Researchers found that about 60% of conversations involve people talking about themselves (that jumps to 80% on social media).
- Our brains are innately wired to focus on ourselves, and scientists have located a section of the brain responsible for that tendency.
I talked more about how people care less than you think they do in “How To Overcome the ‘No One Understands Me Doldrums’”, so check that out if you’re interested.
So, the next time you feel compelled to spout off to your friends, family, or coworkers, remember: They probably don’t care!
What’s Your Motivation?
Why do you talk as much as you do?
Sit down, grab some paper, and analyze how and why you relate to the people in your inner circle – the ones you talk to the most.
Think, analyze, and dig deep until you uncover your core motivations.
Some people talk too much because:
- They can’t stand the awkwardness of dead air and feel the need to fill all silence with sound.
- They think that explaining something at great length is necessary to convince and persuade others (that rarely works, by the way).
- They think the more they talk, the more people will think they’re smart, knowledgeable, respectable, etc. Actually, the opposite is true.
- They talk because it makes them feel important.
- They’re bored and want something to do, so they talk. Mostly about nothing.
- Talking is easier than researching, studying, learning, being introspective, working, focusing, and other actions that improve lives. (How many people would rather stand around the water cooler at work then sit down and focus on completing that 100-page report?)
Think about the people who talk to the most. Analyze your common conversations.
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How do you go about it?
- Is it effective? What are the usual outcomes?
- Might harnessing the power of silence be more likely to help you reach your goals? How could I incorporate it?
Here’s a generic example to get you started:
· Conversations with my teenage son:
Motive: Usually persuasive. I often to coax him to do something specific.
How: I tend to nag. Often repeat myself. Bring up past actions a lot. More critical than supportive. Tend to talk about how his actions affect me instead of uncovering why he does what he does.
Outcomes: He often tunes me out or responds with anger.
Incorporate?: Start with a short, simple question and just stand back and listen without interrupting. Focus on understanding. Goad him into talking more and more so that I can understand. When he’s done, state my position with a short, succinct sentence or two. Then walk away.
If you sit down and write out your own conversation analyses, I’m sure you can come up with plenty of ways to incorporate the power of silence into your most frequent interactions.
Here’s a form you can use (just click “File > Make a Copy” to use it).GET YOUR FORM HERE
Use it for a week or a month, then take a look and analyze to see if your interactions improved, stayed the same, or worsened.
- What other changes occurred?
- Were people surprised?
- Did they listen more or less?
Write it all down.
How often do you read something, think “Great idea!”, but then after you get distracted, you’ve forgotten all about it?
For me – daily ☺
You could order a custom silicone band and stick it on your wrist.
Just glance at it for a quick, silent reminder to shut the fu** up!
Increase Your Power & Shut the Fuck Up!
Everyone these days seems to have the “diarrhea of the mouth” disease, so be different.
Don’t talk incessantly.
Don’t voice every thought that pops into your head.
Use your discretion. Be wise. Listen way more than you speak.
If you put forth the effort to stifle your words and keep the majority of your thoughts and ideas to yourself, you will:
- Gain respect
- Garner esteem from yourself and others
- Avoid trouble
- Attain More
- Reach Goals Faster
- Make People Curious
- Make What You Do Say More Effective
- And more!
Silence IS power. Harness yours today!