In my own midlife divorce recovery journey, I had a terrible time keeping my mouth shut. Even when I was not talking out of anger and was instead trying to convince my wasband to come back home, I talked too much. My “lips and teeth” were moving when they should not have been. Talking to a brick wall is always frustrating, and it usually ends up making the talker look and feel foolish.
During my divorce recovery research, I found a quote from Any Warhol that made a lot of sense when I stopped talking long enough to think about it. Andy said, “I actually learned that you have more power when you shut up.” Andy Warhol as a young man came to the conclusion that it was virtually impossible to get someone to do what you wanted by talking. In his later life, he utilized this truth with great success. The less he talked, the more intriguing he became. For Benjamin Franklin it was one of his 13 Virtues.
In the book The 48 Laws of Power, one section on the “Keys to Power” contains the following statements, “Saying less than necessary is not for kings and statesmen only. In most areas of life, the less you say, the more profound you appear. By saying less than necessary, you create the appearance of meaning and power.”
Even though I definitely think there is a place to make your opinions and feelings heard, there is also a time to stop talking and let someone else fill in the spaces of silence. By not talking more than is absolutely necessary, we appear more in control and others begin to get flustered and start dancing around with their silly arguments. How much better off we are to just stand there in quiet control than to let our lips start flapping. Anyway, in most cases, the more we talk, the less they listen.
Today, let’s all try to only say things that we really need to say. Let’s have fun, but today let’s give our “lips and teeth” a rest. It will be good discipline, and we might find out other people have interesting things to say. Another benefit is that in the future, others might listen more carefully to what we do say.
“Watch your words and control your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” Proverbs 31.23 (The Message)