Silence is a very powerful and a very underrated aspect of our lives.
When you need clarity, silence is the key. Only when you can become internally and externally silent, you can let the dust settle from your eyes. If you are not silent from time to time, you will always go on reacting and never be able to respond. There is a subtle difference.
When you are reacting, you have lost all control and are running on your survival mechanisms. On the other hand, if you are responding, you are consciously choosing a set of actions with an intent other than mere survival. This means you can see the bigger picture and act accordingly. These are the traits of a good leader. And you have to be a leader even if you have no followers but yourself.
Strokes of insight occur in silence. I’ll share a personal anecdote with you. This happened in the last year of my schooling. My final exams were going on. I had this Maths paper. I was decent in Maths back then. The paper started off well. But nearing the end, there were two questions, one of six marks and one of four, that I could not figure out for the life of me. Now, this may or may not sound like a big deal to you, but given our education system, it was to me. So, what did I decide to do. I had maybe half an hour left. You would probably think to start fervently working on the question, trying a myriad of ways. I forgot all about the question started looking out the window. It was spring time, I was on the first floor in the window seat and the view outside was beautiful. The comfortably warm sunlight falling on the trees. I remember this one tree. I don’t know what happened but I was transfixed on it. Around fifteen minutes passed and I was still looking at it. It brought me a strange silence. It was comforting. Then seemingly out of nowhere, I had insights to both the questions. I ended up solving both of them. I got 98/100 ;P.
What actually happened? The thing is when you are anxious or stressed, your mind tends to close. You end up performing on a sub-optimal level of your capabilities. When you are silent, you relax. This allows the brain to activate a bigger portion of itself, enabling you to see patterns and find connections which were previously unknown to you. I didn’t know all this back then; I guess I was just lucky.
Silence can also be powerful in your day to day interactions with people. You can show your disapproval with other people by looking them in the eye and shutting up. The key here is to not be fidgety, then you just come across as afraid and nervous. From the times of Cicero, silence has been extensively used in public speeches to multiply the intensity of the message.
Silence makes you much less reactive to other people’s comments and actions. They start to affect you less and less. There is no need for suppression and passive aggressive behavior, that just ends up hurting you in the long run. But what I am asking you to be is a little more silent.
If you are not silent by nature, meditate. Observe. When you are observing, you are silent. Even if you are an extrovert, you would still benefit from silence. Remember, you can be completely engaged in the world and still be silent on the inside.
Silent, Clear, Focused.
Till next time