There seems to be an epidemic. It’s an epidemic of thoughtlessness. Too many people seem to have mouths that work way faster than the noggin. Rarely can this be good, despite what a few people might think. It’s time to be more thoughtful.
If an ape can do it, so can we. How? Stop. Slow the heck down. Think. Is what I’m going to say going to contribute anything to the world? Is it going to add anything of value to the conversation, or am I going to just take away more precious oxygen than necessary? Decide if what you were about to say is indeed positive, valuable, or helpful. If so, now say it. Or don’t. When in doubt, just don’t.
It’s truly that easy. And it’s a beautiful thing. The more one speaks, the less people are inclined to listen. This is especially true when it seems as if nothing that comes out of the mouth is of any value. Some of the most powerful orators are the people who say less. Less can be more, especially if it is impactful.
People should take you more seriously when you show you thought about what you said, or what you didn’t say. I’ll never forget the times when somebody said something to me that definitely deserved a response (and a negative one at that). They were the hardest moments to restrain, but the most appropriate moments not to stoop. My saying nothing actually sent way more of a message, one time actually eliciting a response from a much more experienced co-worker who said, “Veteran move kid, veteran move.” His complement pushed me towards that direction in more instances. Trust me, however, it’s not always easy.
I’ve always tended to think more than talk. I try to be thoughtful about everyone around me and who I’m impacting when I let words fly. We all don’t achieve this at times, but it’s important to think about your audience.
One of the best people I know, we’ll call her Amy, had a knack for thinking about every single person in a room before she said anything. All the time. Never once did I hear her hurl an insulting statement around. She always seemed to consider who was around, listening, and even when something hurtful might get back to another person.
So stop. Think. Decide. Now talk. Or don’t. Be thoughtful.
If you constantly find yourself apologizing for things you do or say, somethings got to change. (Side note, each apology you use becomes less and less effective. Saying “sorry” is a good start, but it’s useless if you don’t actually try to stop doing the things you are apologizing for.)
Heed this advice and we might make a few people’s day a bit brighter. We might sacrifice a few more negative emotions. Perhaps we might make a few fewer people cry, especially when they don’t deserve it. We might not feel like a bunch of asses, constantly analyzing and regretting the things we say.