”It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
This quote has a very interesting history of attributions over the centuries. From ancient philosophers to Abraham Lincoln to Mark Twain, no one is absolutely sure who said it first! It comes, no doubt, from the oldest text of them all, Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible. Proverbs 17:28 says: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
As podcasters, keeping our mouths closed seems counterintuitive. How can keeping silent help me when my hobby/livelihood/passion revolves around people listening to what I have to say? I think Brian gets it right in this episode! Sometimes an episode just isn’t worth releasing. And it’s not because you are worthless or you never have something worthwhile to say, but that sometimes… one day, one recording, or one moment moment, whatever intention you had just didn’t come together as expected.
Instead of forcing it, instead of trying to force that square peg into a round hole, consider easing off. This is a technique I use in my yoga practice a lot, actually. Some days I am bursting with energy and I can feel the movement lead me into a rejuvenating workout. Other days I am fatigued and exhausted and I just cannot fit myself into a pose that I normally do every day. Much of yoga’s value comes from my own acknowledgement of how I feel while practicing and then making the adjustments necessary to match that feeling. It isn’t about forcing every pose and every stretch, striving for the far limits of my flexibility and strength. Sometimes I have to back off and ease up.
So maybe it seems counterintuitive to turn off the mic, but it’s no less counterintuitive than holding back an angry retort, knowing you’ll regret saying it later, or choosing to take the high ground when someone else is choosing to be petty. We deal in words, a property that cannot be taken back once released; a property with the power to build up or tear down, to encourage or demoralize.
Think of this episode as permission to let go when it’s just not coming together. Give yourself a pass instead of beating yourself up! And with that, I will leave you with the words of one Thomas Jefferson: “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
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