The Epic Gift of Silence

Shhhh - Quiet, Silence, Secret Gesture, Young Handsome Man..

I think you’ve said enough.

I think that it’s time that you stop talking.

I’m not trying to be rude, but seriously–stop talking.

Before you think this another one of my infamous April Fools pranks, I promise that I’m being dead serious. This topic is too important to mess around with.

Speaking of important, we all have a dream right?

  • Maybe it’s about finding a better job.
  • Maybe it’s about finding true love.
  • Maybe it’s about losing all of that extra weight and finally getting in shape.
  • Maybe it’s about leaving a toxic relationship.
  • Maybe it’s about going back to school.
  • Maybe it’s about writing that book, starting that blog or releasing that album.
  • Maybe it’s about getting professional help to deal with an addiction, health problem or personal issue that has been plaguing us.
  • Maybe it’s about getting out of debt and building a savings account.
  • Maybe it’s about confronting that big fear that’s been holding us back from living our best lives.
  • Maybe it’s simply about being happy and finding the inner peace that’s eluding us.

Truthfully, the issue isn’t about the dream.

The real issue is that most people make a huge mistake after they decide on their dream (or any life change, to be honest.)

They start talking.

Usually, way too much.

My hope is that you won’t be one of those people. Your dream deserves the gift of your silence.

Here’s why.

Talk is Still Cheap

There’s a reason why the saying “talk is cheap” has withstood the test of time.

That’s because “talking” is a half-step ahead of doing nothing.

Sure, it’s not nothing, but it is pretty close (if you don’t believe me, just ask my former coworker)

Keeping it as real as possible, being a big-talker requires no skill, no talent and virtually no effort. It’s incredibly easy to talk about doing something, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually go out and get it done.

And without question, one of the biggest barriers to doing big things in our lives is talking about doing big things in our lives.

Here’s a perfect example of this:

I used to be neighbors with a woman who used to be fairly overweight.

For years, she spent a lot of time talking about how “this was going to be the year” where she gets into shape, or how “this diet/workout plan/magic blender-juicer thingy” was going to be the thing that finally gets her into shape.

And for years, nothing happened.

After not seeing this woman for close to two years, I bumped into her at the grocery store a few weeks ago with her new boyfriend and she looked amazing. For real, she looked absolutely incredible.

So, of course I had to ask her how she did it. Here’s what she said (I’m paraphrasing, of course):

I realized that for years, all I was doing was talking about getting in shape. As soon as I decided to shut up and quit acting like talking was the same thing as doing something, everything changed. For the first time in my life, I decided not to tell a soul that I was going to get myself back in shape. I just kept my mouth shut and did it. Once I quit talking, people stopped asking me, ‘So, when are you going to get started?’, and now they’re all asking me, ‘So, how did you do it?’ Believe me, that never gets old.”

Awesome, right?

As I walked out of the store that day, I couldn’t help but to reflect back on her amazing transformation and how everything changed for her once she simply decided to stop talking about it and decided to “be about it” instead.

And then I realized that any worthwhile accomplishment in my life also came when I shut my mouth, stopped telling everyone about the “big thing” that I was going to do, and just did the damn thing instead.

This is the epic gift of silence.

Talking is not action.

In fact, if anything it gets in the way of action.

Action Expresses Priorities

Let me ask you a question:

If you were dating someone who enthusiastically says that he/she “loves you more than anything,” but this person constantly flakes out on dates with you, consistently treats you in a demeaning manner, and refuses to bring you around his/her friends or family under any circumstances–would you think that he/she really loves you?

Unless you’re a complete fool (and I know that you’re not), the only answer that makes any logical sense is that he/she does not really love you.

How can I be so sure of this?

Because whenever a person’s words and actions are not in sync, you must always go with their actions.

Actions always tell the true story about what a person is really about.

Even more telling, is that a person’s actions also reveals their true priorities too.

Let’s revisit your goals for a minute.

If your goal is to start your own business in 2015, but you spend all of your free time playing video games, surfing Facebook, watching DVR’ed shows, and taking 3-hour naps everyday–does it really matter that you’ve said that your goal is to start your own business?

Nope.

You’ve made it clear what your real priorities are, and it’s definitely not starting your own business.

The same logic applies to every goal in your life–whether it’s leaving a toxic relationship, getting a college degree, losing weight or putting away a year’s salary into your savings account.

If you choose to be real with yourself, ask yourself this: Are you just messing around by talking about your goals and doing nothing to make them happen, or are you truly serious about your goals by taking consistent action while talking less?

One thing is for sure:

It’s your actions, not your words, that will always tell the story about what your real priorities are.

Always.

The Time for Talking is Over

You might already know this, but I came up with the idea for launching a positivity blog in 2010.

For three long years, all that I did was “talk” about launching a blog that would hopefully inspire others to make the world a more positive place.

For three long years, I talked, talked, and talked while doing nothing.

The only reason why you’re reading these words now is because one day in 2013, I decided to quit talking and make the leap.

The tough love in this post is my way to ensure that you don’t burn precious years off of your timeline like I did by just talking about your goals for years and years.

Please, for the love of all things big and small, if there’s something that your soul is screaming for you to do–then stop talking about it and start doing it!

It’s fine to mention your big dream to others or to share your dream with a trusted accountability buddy who will keep you on track. But once you’ve done that once or twice (at the most), then it’s time to shut up and get to work.

Most importantly, refuse to let talking about your dream become a cheap substitute for actually creating your dream.

Your dreams deserve your dedication, your focus, and if you’re serious, your silence as well. That’s because there is no amount of talking in the world that will make your dreams a reality.

If you have something to say about your dreams, let your actions do the talking from now on.

That’s the only thing that the world really needs to hear.

Your Turn

Is there an area of your life where you need to quit talking and start doing? If so, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.
Shola
Shola

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Comments

  1. Hello Shola, it’s been a while 🙂 I enjoyed this post. It brings meaning to actions speak louder than words. Take meditation for an example of the power of silence, just see what amazing things you will experience during the silence. You know what they always say, silence is golden 🙂

    • So true, Cianna! Actions will always speak louder than words. And speaking of meditation, I used to talk for years about the importance of meditation, but predictably, it was only until I shut my mouth and did it that I was able to enjoy any of the benefits. Silence IS golden!

  2. You nailed it on the head in this post! I’m very self-motivated and do accomplish a lot, but I have to say I too do seem to spend time talking about it…time to shut up!!

    • Thanks Stacie! And believe me, I’m right there with you. This post was also directed at me too. It’s time for us both to shut up and get to work 😉

  3. I would say at this point in my life the only thing I need to stop saying is “I’ve got to lose some weight before I do anymore wedding dress shopping.” My fiance isn’t any help because when I say I need to lose some weight he always replies “as long as you don’t lose your hips and butt…” uuugh you men lol

    • Ha! PhillyL, just tell him that the potential loss of the hips and butt are only for the wedding pictures–you’re free to get it back afterward 😉

  4. Powerful, positive and concise! Wow! You really hit it out of the ball park this time! (since it is baseball season, ya know). Thank you!
    In our home we say, “I can hear best what you do, not what you say.”

    • Elaine, I’m happy to hear that I didn’t strike out on this blog post (sorry, I couldn’t resist–I love baseball season too!) I love that quote because it is so true. Ralph Waldo Emerson said something similar, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” It’s time to speak with our actions!

  5. Welcome back Shola! Even though I enjoyed revisiting your Best of the Oldies, I missed you. I must tell you, I learned real early, not to talk, just do. And this is something all the Positivists here might keep in mind. For me, the biggest danger of stating my intentions is the immediate, negative feedback that usually comes pouring in. This was especially brought home to me when I was 13-14 years old, and I told my math teacher I was planning to go to college. Her response, no shit, was an eye-roll, and, “You girls ( I think she meant us poor white trash types) don’t go to college. You all get pregnant and drop out at 16.” That hit me hard, and I learned a valuable lesson. I don’t speak much about my plans, except to those very close to me, and even then, I am wary of their responses. Frequently their input is well-intended, but not helpful. They’ll say things like, “Oh, I know lots of people who did that, and they were not happy”, “Oh, my sister went there on vacation and she did not like it at all”, or my favorite, “Why on earth would you want to do THAT?”. So yes, I keep my plans to myself, and just keep on doing what I’m doing. Even my husband of 25 years, who loves me and always wants the best for me, will give me this b.s., because he wants to protect me from hurt and disappointment. So, I keep it to myself, and just keep doing what I’m doing. Then the feedback I get is, “Wow, how did you know you could do that?”, or , “You sure are lucky you can do things like that”. (BTW “luck” being something we create for ourselves is probably a really good future blog topic). Thanks Shola, for a weekly thought that is truly important.

    • Hey Donna, it’s good to be back! You are so right about the haters and naysayers who will happily come out in force to destroy people’s dreams as soon as you announce it. Admittedly though, I become horrified (and pissed) to hear teachers who do that. Your former math teacher has no business teaching impressionable teenage kids, and it scares me to think about how many dreams she has likely crushed throughout her miserable career. I know that talking about starting a positivity blog is what kept me stuck. I heard from way too many people, “do you know how many positivity blogs are out there? You’re not even a writer. It’s going to pretty hard to stand out, man.” Even though they were well-meaning, those words had a very real effect on me. It was only when I stopped sharing and starting working that everything changed for me. Like you said, luck isn’t something that comes from talking, it comes from what we create (and yes, that is now officially in the mental archives for a future blog post ;))

  6. Love your blogs keep up the positive work.

  7. Been a while!!! Good post, for me that’s one of my ‘Achilles heals’ talking about my goals to others and it’s a mixed bag of failures, none action and achieved goals.

    It’s funny how people seem to only remember the negative outcomes of my actions.

    So point taken! To save myself the hassle of ridicule I’ll go ‘mum’s the word’ from now on concerning my goals and aspirations.

    Thanks again.

    • Smart move, Oyenu! Stay focused on your goals and don’t let anyone derail your focus. If you keep it up, people will start saying, “wow, look at everything that Oyenu is doing!” Let your actions do the talking from now on, my friend.

  8. Hi Shola,
    This is my first post, but I’ve enjoyed your blog for the past 7 weeks. And I always say “I’m going to comment today”, well today I did it! I’m a very productive person & a visionary of sorts, plus I’m the “go-to” person for others looking for clarity in their ideas/visions. Your topic today made me think of how much more I could accomplish if I spoke less and implemented more! Thanks for being a positive change in my life.

    • Right on Lisa! Hopefully this won’t be the last that I see you in the comment section :). Yes, there is always so much more that can be done, if we spend less time talking about our plans and more time implementing those plans. Thanks so much for the kind words and THANK YOU for being a part of the solution!

  9. Hello Shola. I read this first on Monday, after getting the email notification about it. I simply could not respond at that time. There was too much stress and turmoil going on in my life for me to focus my words.

    It is interesting what time gives, in the way of perspective. Most of my stress on Monday was about a situation with one of my teen-aged children. I had gone ’round and ’round in discussions with the child, but nothing was resolved.

    I finally took matters into my own hands and decided to send emails to some important people, asking for help. This upset my child to the point of great anger with me. I got a flurry of furious texts about my actions. It was frustrating and heart breaking, because I have the perspective to know and understand that talking only goes so far. My child does not.

    Two days later, the anger is gone. I am no longer the bad guy, and the people who got my email have reached out to my child to offer support and opportunities.

    Mother does not always know best, but sometimes… well, sometimes I really do.

    Thanks for your post and for confirming that it is action that results in change, not empty talk.

    Hugs to you, dear friend!

    kathy

    • Hey Kathy, thanks so much for sharing that and for taking the time to leave a comment in the midst of the drama that’s going on at home. I’m scared to think about what’s waiting for me when my little girls become teenagers! Most importantly, props to you for taking the necessary action to do what’s best for your child. As they say, the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing. Hugs to you for always choosing what’s right over what’s easy.

  10. I am so so grateful to have found your website Shola! So grateful to feel part of this positive web within all there is! Not easy! But so much worth it. thank you! I am working on my dreams and silence is such a great friend…. Its presence fills me up and I have profound respect for this energy. Spot on post! Bless to u!

  11. WOW! You have summed up everything that I have been trying to tell everybody around me for years. Honestly I talk so little that I get angry whenever someone wants me to stop what I am doing and explain to them the current action that I am taking. I am not good with words or explaining myself which leads to me just pushing people out of the way and doing it myself. You have my thanks, do you mind if I take a few of your phrases and utilize them in my life as well?

  12. Brandon Battle says:

    Alright its official, I love this blog. Not sure how you do it, but every post is SPOT ON! haha It’s like looking for a new book to read, skimming the book shelves, hoping that the right one will hop right out at you, Except all your books are the right ones. 😛

    I feel that I am a poster child of this talking syndrome your writing about. Always talking and conceptualizing what if scenarios in pursuit of my dreams. Up till now I truly felt, by doing so, I was making tangible progress. Yet when I look at what I’ve truly accomplished, I find myself ashamed. Sure, I’ve slowly acquired necessary tools and knowledge. But, the real action hasn’t even started yet cause I have been more busy spreading the word, while I spend my free time doing everything else but making progress.

    Shola, thank you for the work that you do, and thank you for this post. Will keep an eye out for your future post! 🙂
    Cheers!

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