In a world where you are told to “Speak UP!”, and fast, witty chatter is considered as “Charisma” and “confidence”, silence and introversion might seem like a disadvantage and a sign of weakness.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Being quiet can, in fact, be a strength.
You’ll find many of the extraordinary people in the history of humanity to be confidently silent. They were comfortable with silence and didn’t feel the need to unnecessarily fill it with mindless chatter.
This poise of silence is what made many of the historic personalities stand out from the crowd and be respected as wise and mature people.
So Why Do We Feel The Need To Fill The Silence?
In a world that is constantly chattering and making noise, silence might seem odd and unusual to many people.
It’s a common practice to escape silence by making small talk in a gathering or constantly consuming some form of media when we’re alone, whether it be music, TV, videos or social media.
The thing is, it’s not the silence that’s uncomfortable, it’s either the “reality” that people are trying to avoid in many cases, or it is the worry and fear of appearing awkward and not blending in.
This might be a telltale sign that we are not comfortable being ourselves and often the reason to fill the silence with small talk is to please people and avoid the awkwardness.
Now don’t take this as a carving on stone, just as an insight.
Silence and stillness seem to elude most of us living in urban cities where we are used to all the noise and being constantly bombarded with endless information. So much so, that we barely ever attain stillness even in our sleep.
So many people nowadays find it hard to fall asleep because their mind is constantly chattering and going into overdrive.
At times we want to just shut all this noise and ramblings of the mind and attain some peace and quiet. But since we have become so used to all the noise, inside and out, we find it awkward when we encounter a situation where there is silence and stillness, even when we are alone by ourselves.
If you are tired of constantly pushing yourself to participate in small talk, here are 8 life-transforming insights into the power of silence that’ll make you embrace silence with confidence.
1. Silence Is An Intimidating Characteristic Of Many Leaders
Often, wise and knowledgeable people speak less than an average person. Their selection of words is often very mindful and they don’t speak unless there is a purpose to say something.
People who talk a lot and talk unnecessarily give off signs of immaturity and being ungrounded.
Whereas those who are confidently silent, project an intimidating aura. People think twice before saying something to this person.
Someone who is confident and comfortable with silence shows that he/she is secure within themselves and doesn’t feel the need to prove anything.
Speaking less and being silent can truly be an Alpha characteristic if it’s coming from a place of confidence and poise.
2. People Who Speak Less and Speak Mindfully Are Generally More Respected
When you speak less, you tend to maintain boundaries and a healthy distance from people.
Often the reason why people lose respect for each other is that they cross each others’ personal boundaries and get too much into each others’ personal lives.
When you have a habit of speaking less and speaking mindfully, you avoid such unnecessary intrusions into other people’s lives, and in turn, they too respect your distance and privacy.
Being a bit reserved is good to maintain healthy and respectable relations with people and avoid clashes and toxicity.
3. Silence Helps You Ground Your Energy & Center Your Focus
Being grounded means that the overall energy balance of your mind, body, and soul, is firmly rooted like a strong, deep-rooted tree. Physically it is represented as the energy being centered at the base of your abdomen and in your legs.
When you talk too much, your overall energy balance shifts from your lower body to your upper body, in fact, towards your head and neck region, making your energy ungrounded and unstable.
When the energy balance is towards your head, you tend to stay in your head. Overthinking, overanalyzing, over-worrying and repeating the bad memories of the past over and over again.
“Stay in your head, you’re dead.” – Anthony Robbins
This is also one of the reasons why so many people feel tightening and tension in their neck and shoulder region resulting in headaches and chronic neck/shoulder pains.
When you make silence a habit – not just physical silence, but mental and spiritual silence as well – you are more centered and focused. Your thoughts are more articulate and you are able to think better and utilize your creative potential.
4. Being Quiet Makes Your A Better Listener
A huge part of effective and fruitful communication is Active Listening, especially when it comes to building lasting relationships.
Dale Carnegie, in his book “How To Win Friends & Influence People” emphasized a lot on talking less and actively listening to people during conversations, focusing your full attention towards understanding what the other person has to say.
Honestly, this is one of the most important ways to build good relations with people.
Instead of talking about yourself or giving them advice and solutions that they didn’t ask for, just give them your undivided attention. People will love you for that and will perceive you as a trustworthy, sincere, and kind-hearted individual.
Sincere individuals who take an interest in what others have to say are rare nowadays, and people deeply appreciate those who really are.
I personally gained several life-long friends and contacts who I now deeply cherish as a blessing just because of this one simple habit of allowing others to talk and sincerely listen to what they have to say.
Having said that, I consider myself a “solution-oriented” guy, so yes I do have the itch to provide people with solutions to the problems they tell me, but often I’ve found that people don’t really need solutions.
Much of the time they really just need to vent out. They only need someone to talk to, someone that would listen. So being “all ears” is the best way to go in most cases.
5. Saves Your Mental Energy from Being Wasted Unnecessarily
Unnecessary and impulsive chatters are like tiny holes in a bucket of water, constantly leaking and wasting precious water.
Since the holes are small, you don’t notice the leakage right away, but by the end of the day, your bucket is empty without you even using the water for yourself. And you wonder where all the water went.
Do you relate to this? Have you ever felt mentally drained?
I personally experienced that, as I developed the habits of speaking less and conserving my speech even when I have the urge to speak, my overall productivity went up like 5X. No exaggeration.
I had more mental energy to put towards the things that really matter. As a blogger and content creator, I noticed that I had a lot more to say in the content that I’m producing and a lot more ideas started flowing.
But the productivity boost was not just limited to the content, I also stopped procrastinating quite a bit, and I used to be a big procrastinator before. Since I was preserving my energy by remaining quiet, I was naturally drawn to Walk the Talk, rather than just endlessly talking the talk.
We must learn to be selective about conserving our mental energy so that we could invest it purposefully in places that really matter.
6. Being Silent Keeps You In Control
When you speak impulsively, you tend to lose control. As long as your words are in your mouth, you have control over them, you can choose wisely what to say and what not to say. But once they leave your mouth, you can’t take them back.
So it’s a more mature approach to keep quiet as you listen and observe. And when you do speak, speak precisely and choose your words wisely.
This can even apply in certain negotiation scenarios. Instead of arguing and trying to justify your point of view, if you just put your demand forth and keep quiet, you are in control. The other person might get intimidated by the silence, and give in.
7. Keeping Quiet Can Settle Down An Argument
Arguments are often an endless exchange of justifications back and forth. If you keep talking back, it will keep going on.
Even if you win an argument by shutting the other person down, you don’t necessarily win. In fact, you lose the bond and relation in trying to prove a petty point.
In many arguments, silence is enough to allow the other person to cool down, relax, and get settled. When you are quiet, they might realize their own mistakes by themselves without you trying to prove them wrong, and they might begin to take your perspective into consideration.
And even if they don’t, it certainly shows that they are adamant on their stance so you arguing with them won’t change them anyway. Why waste your energy?
Accepting and living with differences brings much more peace of mind than trying to convince other people. In this context, we often underestimate how powerful silence can be in building healthy relationships and settling heated arguments.
It can be hard at times to keep quiet and control the urge to talk back, but keeping a long-term consequence in mind might just be enough to be quiet and patient.
8. Silence Can Help You Execute Better & Put Things Into Action
In my personal experience, I became A LOT better in the execution of plans when I reduced talking uselessly. Since I wasn’t pouring my heart and mind out in some vague chitter-chatter, I had a lot more to give when it came to important actionable things.
This might vary from person to person. For me, I noticed that talking drained my energy without me often realizing it. Whenever I would impulsively talk my heart out, I experienced reduced focus and motivation later on in my work.
Also, what many people do (including my past self) is that they would talk endlessly about their great ideas, and intentions, their big visions, which never get put into action, at least not consistently, since all their energy is spent talking the talk rather than walking the walk.
When people appreciate our great ideas before we even put them into action, our brain receives all that appreciation and acknowledgment as a reward, getting a subconscious sense of achievement that fulfills the inner hunger to achieve the target.
A strange phenomenon, but true for most people.
It’s NOT a bad thing to remain quiet or speak less. Sometimes there is no need to talk purposelessly.
Yes, small talks and initiating conversations in certain scenarios, can prove helpful in networking/building contacts, but again those kinds of “small talks” are indeed purposeful and strategic in a sense that you are trying to build good relationships and make new contacts.
Otherwise, you don’t have to waste your energy only because you feel like you’ll be the odd one out or you won’t fit in if you don’t talk a lot.
And even in cases where you find an urge to just talk endlessly about your ideas, plans or the happenings of your life. There’s a good chance that that might prove to be counterproductive and waste your mental and emotional energy which could’ve been used in more productive things or towards people who really deserve your energy and full attention.
One last thing to keep in mind is that, don’t be silent in places where clear and thorough communication is required whether it be at work or in your relationships. Wisdom is knowing where to remain silent and where to speak up.
Wisdom is also knowing when and how to use silence. All the advantages of practicing silence mentioned above might apply in many cases, and at certain times they might not.
Whenever you are in such situations, just take a moment to think consciously and ask yourself, what is the best thing to do in this scenario, will silence be of benefit here? You will have your answer.
Talk to you soon!