Have you ever wondered why religion is so powerful? It is simply because of its mystery. Mystery sells. Human beings idolize experiences that baffle understanding and cannot be explained. Every revered practice, ritual or faith in human history got out of a mystery. Whether in life, business or leadership, engage in a creative bricolage that paints a picture of an unsolved you. Always keep a part of you unknown.
Story had been told of a rather stormy board meeting and some very insensitive things had been said, as everyone tried to voice their heart on the matter. One member of the board, Bob, highly respected and unusually wise in his judgments – had said nothing throughout the wild proceedings. Suddenly one of the leaders in the argument turned to him: “Bob, you have not said a word. I am sure we would like to hear your opinion about this matter”. “I have discovered,” Bob replied, “that there are many times when silence is an opinion”.
Sometimes silence is the loudest and most effective type of sound. And the loudest guy in the room could be the weakest guy, says Don Clericuzzo from the movie The Last Don. The reason is simple, as Ezra Taft Benson writes: “Some of the greatest battles will be fought in the silent chambers of your own soul”. Don’t be an open book rather create a part to be deciphered. Again, mystery sells.
People can be extremely frustrating! Their antagonizing words can brutally extinguish the gentlemanliness in you and apparently turn you to a wolf, hence cause you numerous problems. But often your wisdom as a leader is not measured by the decibel level you reach as you respond to those that oppose your ideas but by the humility you demonstrate as you modestly soak up an opposing view and move forward. At the end of the day, in our daily encounters with others, the ultimate goal should be to make people feel better by our response and by what we say.
We live in a culture of increasing contention and dispute. It is a time when, more and more, we see people disparaging and even demonizing opponents of different viewpoints and circumstances. It is a time when people are so deeply wedded to their own opinions about today’s social, political, and moral issues and more angrily hostile toward those who hold a different viewpoint, even on complicated matters that are far from black and white, says author Clarence Otis. By paying attention to the silence within our conversation and embracing those spaces, we can connect more deeply with ourselves and become persons of depth and value. This deeper connection is what assimilates into our psyches and from that abyss of depth, our creative engagement naturally flows, and we can impact our world in powerful ways.
The bible is not silent on stressing on the morality of silence either. Paul challenged Christians in Corinthians to refrain from placing too much stock in their own opinions or in the views of people, by asking, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:20). The book of Proverbs reminds us that silence, patience or a gentle talk can overcome any problem (Prov. 25:15).
Leaders think differently than followers do. Apparently they have to. “While followers can be content focusing on the trees, leaders must see the forest,” says Thomas Blackaby. With such futuristic depth, leaders may not easily escape being misunderstood. And thus, frequent interruptions by those who seek to understand them can scatter out thoughts, weaken their potency, and make them stormy in their response to clarify their vision. However, their inability to ignore a dispute without having the last word is a weakness that follows leaders who are insecure in their position. In their determination to have the final say in every argument, they fail to see that the last word is always not spoken. Notice, people secure in their power do not give the last word. There is absolutely no need to because it is at that state of wordlessness that their classical engagement as leaders naturally flows.
The bible asks: The more we talk, the less sense we make, so what good does it do to talk? Life is short and meaningless, and it fades away like a shadow. Who knows what is best for us? Who knows what will happen after we are gone? (Eccl. 6:11-12).
Don’t be superficial with your words. Apply wisdom when you share something precious!