Ì was about 19 years old when life taught me the virtue in keeping silent. I am not talking of silence that turns you into a doormat. No, but silence that has a voice.
I was in a public transport traveling between Ife and Akure )if my memory serves me well) when there was a heated argument between the passengers and the driver of our vehicle . Exactly what caused the trouble I can’t recall. All I know was that the passengers (with the exception of myself) in the Peugeot station wagon were shouting and abusing the driver who in turn was giving them the full length of his tongue. In anger he turned off the expressway and drove the vehicle straight into a Police Station.
Whilst the Police was still trying to make peace between the driver and my fellow passengers, he suddenly veered off his narrative and directed his gaze towards me. Pointing his finger, he said ” of all the passengers in this vehicle, this is the only person I am afraid of” . I wondered why he was afraid of me. He now said the reason he was afraid of me was that through out the exchange of words in the car till that moment I said nothing. He said because I wasn’t talking he doesn’t know what I was up to and who I was. That statement left me baffled. The truth was, I didn’t utter a word because I was the youngest in the car and I didn’t understand why they were quarreling so I didn’t know what I was supposed to say.
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact”…. George Eliot.
Eventually, the matter was resolved and we went on to complete the journey that day. That was a landmark event in my life. Till date, it is one of the virtues I have learnt to apply in my life.
I learnt that day that silence has a big voice. In fact, silence speaks with a very big loud speaker.
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause”…Mark Twain.
As a kid whenever my younger brother and I were misbehaving, I remember my mum at times does not always yell at us. She just looks at us and says nothing. That silence said everything she needed to say. Everyone involved immediately got the message. That silence meant, “you will be throughly whooped later”
I am not advocating keeping quiet in the face of injustice because your keeping quiet when you are supposed to speak up may make you regret all your life for not speaking up especially when your silence leads to irreversible damage in another’s life.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” . Edmund Burke
“I don’t fear death, I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice…” Malakai Joya.
It’s not everytime you have to talk.
It’s not every statement you have to respond to in life.
When you don’t talk, your enemy or opponent is left confused as they don’t know what you are thinking.
“When you build in silence, they don’t know what to attack”. Anonymous.
There are times I see people going to the Social Media to share their personal problems. People on the social media don’t really care . They have their own problems too. Actually, you have just placed yourself on the lips of the talkers and gossips. Sometimes, it is better to even talk to yourself than to people.
“…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them”….Lou Holtz
Silence they say is golden. Nobody can quote a man who hasn’t said anything. Keep quiet in the times of anger so that you don’t regret what you say later. Words are like eggs. Once you drop them, you can’t retrieve them. Words spoken in anger most times end up as a thing to regret.
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret”….Ambrose Bierce
“I have often regretted my speech, never my silence” Xenocrates.
In life it is better to hear two sides of a story before you make a comment. Speaking without adequate balance of information in a complex situation can make you look like a fool when the truth eventually emerges.
Silence at times makes you look like a wise man. So next time you don’t know what to do. Practice silence as it is a virtue.
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise” Jeremiah
Open your mouth when there is something to say.
“Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than the silence.” Spanish Proverb.
“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent” Dalai Lama.
You can’t go through life and become successful if you busy yourself trying to answer every dog that barks at you on the highway of life. There are people you have to ignore. No need wasting your time on them. I read in a blog sometime back (can’t remember which) a Blogger while talking about bus drivers (or something like that) said ….. ” you are going to work, he is going to the bus stop” (I paraphrase). That is an allusion to the fact that you have a more important destination before you so don’t waste your time with those who are going nowhere.
“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.” Mandy Hale.
However, when you have kids, silence is not golden at all times. When they stop talking or the play pen suddenly becomes quiet, silence needs to be investigated .
What are the land marks events in your life that taught you something concerning silence. Put your comments below and let us learn from each other’s experience.
I highly value your comments because it helps me to know you read this post and also helps me to know if what I am writing is relevant to you.
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