The 8-Fold Path-Step 4: Appearing Wise


Often, we find ourselves in group settings. Whether a business meeting, a committee of an organization we’re in, or a party, because we’re social creatures we usually end up working or playing with others. Which provides us a wonderful opportunity to practice silence. And that brings us to the 4th step on the 8-Fold Path for Living Daily in the Silence:

In group settings, remember even the fool appears wise when he or she says nothing.

We’ve all been there. That meeting at work, or church, or the club, or the party with friends or relatives where one person dominates the gathering and everyone wishes he or she would at least take a breath once in a while. And maybe, just maybe, we find out through the grapevine that person is us. Not a pretty picture that.

I remember a club meeting I was at many years ago where a person started criticizing a couple in the group with a rather loud voice, not realizing they were sitting at the same table. Embarrassing. The couple never came back. Unfortunately, the loud mouth was a driving force behind the group. But after that incident, no one wanted to work with him anymore and the group fell apart.

Talking too much is rarely a good thing. It might be of benefit in a filibuster, but very few of us ever find ourselves in one. The prudent course is very much that of less is more. Especially in a group.

Ever notice those people who hold court at a party? They have to be the center of attention. Even if it means making a fool of themselves. I know a person like that. He launches into his monologue the moment he has even one pair of ears he can address. His speech is totally self-centered. There is no regard for the interests of the audience. The result? At the earliest possible moment, the audience is excusing itself for one reason or another.

We don’t like being around know-it-alls. There is, after all, some truth to the old saw: those people who think they know everything, really irritate those of us who do!

The solution is simple: silence. Or at least minimal talking. The fool does indeed appear wise when no words reveal the truth of the matter.

In group settings, it’s best not to be the one who always has to be talking. Speak when appropriate to do so or when you genuinely have something of benefit to say — and keep it brief. No one wants to hear a soliloquy.

The key is always balance and moderation. In a business or social setting, the norm is usually for us to say something. Just not everything.

As always, comments are welcome! And until next time, happy silence!

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