Holding thy peace (and horses).

Recently I came across a quote that read something like, “Wisdom is in knowing that not everything is need of your comment”. This got me hard and naturally I got up to refute (in my head of course I am a personified voice who is really cute and wears glasses and a feather hat, that got up from behind a huge messy table full of papers [those symbolize opinions] and pointed to ‘Statement’ who is this thing that has an ‘Attack Me’ signage stuck across its forehead- it’s so tempting, like a button you want to press) and began to open her mouth… Then I quickly realized how ironic it was: here was an advice that said you should keep your peace if you want to attain Wisdom, and the minute I heard it I started protesting. Sigh. And then of course the image dimmed…the personified voice aka me in my head retreated behind her desk and looked guiltily at the stack of opinions. Slowly she looks through them one by one and decides that she needs to distinguish those matters that will be of relevance if she’s involved, and those that will not be, whether or not she’s involved.

Ok let’s move away from the silly imagery… One thing we need to be clear about this though, is that you don’t really have to really be qualified to throw in your opinion into a discussion. Qualification matters sometimes. But every little voice counts because sometimes even the experts fail to see things that are beyond their field, and an outsider’s comment would be of help in that sense. However, before saying anything there must be some sort of test that you run before deciding to say it. The test should ask this question: “What impact will your comment have on the existing proposition? Will it strengthen it, reduce it or do nothing at all?” Obviously there are exceptions when you want to support someone’s statement, or show solidarity.. all those are fine. But learn to give substantial opinions, and if you have none to offer, learn to listen instead. And know that it does not mean that you are “less informed” in any way. I think that is how I feel sometimes. But it’s not true, is it? It just means you’re probably better off being quiet, and the proposition is probably better off without your comment.

When I keep silent it means others will have a chance to speak; I get to listen to possibly better opinions and questions. It means I’ll have time to pore over the proposition for a longer time, and perhaps learn about it more. Also silence can be when I simply have no interest in it whatsoever. That’s fine too, and there should be no shame in that. Sometimes we tend to butt in into topics we have no real bias in, and we regret as soon as we’re in.

My point is, making comments everywhere and every time, is not equivalent to “leaving a legacy”. This is not how you leave your “mark”. This is like those cat paw marks on the wall. But if you hold your peace (and horses), and either 1.weigh the magnitude of your comment, 2. or do some more research on it so you have something of substance, you will earn more respect than you’ll ever have spurting carelessly. That is like a vivid, coloured paw print on the wall. It stands out. That is wisdom; it is in knowing what to say and when to say it.

And before I forget, without a doubt, there will be propositions so silly they are not worth your time, so don’t bother commenting on them. So choose your battles wisely.

p.s. I don’t know if this was a battle worth my time , but I got schooled big time by that simple advice! o_0

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