August 25, 2011
By Cheryl Aaron Corbin
I am a thinker. I wake up thinking, I go to bed thinking. I think of the simple things in life and think of complex matters and possible, viable solutions. You know the problem with thinking so much? One feels compelled to provide these thoughts to people who didn’t ask you for your opinion. It is then easy to become a know-it-all. Yes, some people may ask you for your opinion, but really, if you know so dang gone much, why aren’t you rich?
In a time when there are 37 television channels of “experts” on everything from pest control to making sandwiches, why is your opinion needed in the conversation? On top of the television experts, there is the internet. The internet is loaded with people who blog on everything from cold sores to cold storage. Technology has advanced so much that experts are now selling their skills via applications that can be at your fingertips via a mobile “app”. Everyone is selling everything. Therefore I compelled to weigh in and sell something so original and so unique, that it is bound to catch and revolutionize the way we live. I am selling silence.
I have been told it is golden.
Yes, I am asking you to stop, breath, reflect and then politely ask you to shut up.
This summer, I hit the road and spent time with not only my family, but my husband’s family. I learned the value of shutting up. There were times when I was convinced that Satan was sitting on my shoulder trying to operate the lever that controlled my tongue. I was strong and I told him, “Get thee behind me Satan” and I shut up. I saw things that I found disturbing. I saw things that probably evolved from necessity but stayed in play out of habit. Knowing that a tweak here and an adjustment there could make all the difference, I politely made the suggestion. The suggestion was ignored. The younger version of me would have forced the issue, reiterated my point or maybe even argued that the current course of action was illogical and should be changed immediately. The mature version of me went and a made an ice cream cone and shut up. Was I right in my assessment, probably? Did it require me making an ass out of myself and wearing out my welcome; not even close. I enjoyed my visits and was invited back.
After returning home from my travels, I headed into the office to start my prep for the Fall quarter. In the faculty work room, there were clusters of professors going on from everything to the copier, students, and which instructors were teaching which classes. In my mind all I could think about was “shut up!” We are in a recession and we should all be grateful for the jobs we have, perfect or imperfect. If as much energy was spent in teaching your classes as is spent in complaining about your classes, then one would probably be a better educator.
Leaving the school I headed to lunch to use my buy one get on free coupon at Ruby Tuesday’s. Seated at a nice table by a window, our drinks come and so does a couple who were the unhappiest people in the world. They complained about the waiter. They complained about their table. They complained about the food. She started to complain about his mother; for Pete’s sake, shut up! Take a moment and meditate and think happy thoughts. You think happy thoughts your feel happier.
I started this thought with a simple statement, I am a thinker. I want you to become a thinker as well. The next time you see something that is just too good and you feel inclined to offer your opinion, tell yourself “shut up.” When your boss comes in with his tie twisted, lipstick on his collar, and a wry smile on his face, there is no need to share this with any of your coworkers because you have learned the fine art of shutting up. Your best friend’s spouse is still stupid and doing stupid things yet your friend is not packing to leave. This is your time to practice your newly acquired skill of the gift of silence. The lesson here is, if your best friend wants better, your best friend will do better. Your two cents aare only going to incite, exacerbate or make things worse, therefore shut up.
Now we move on to the portion of this thought that is going to revolutionize the way we live. We are going to learn the highly in demand skillset of silence. Dictionay.com defines silence as the absence of any sound or noise; stillness. In stillness we learn understanding. In understanding we learn to grow. In growing we become better. I want to become better. I am thinking of ways to be better. I am thinking. If I am thinking, then I am not talking. If I am not talking, no one needs to tell me to shut up.
I am thinking of ways to save money.
I am thinking of new recipes.
I am thinking about my vacation for next year.
I am thinking of my exercise plan.
Here is your test for your first step to being better. Later today you will be presented with an opportunity to inject your unsolicited opinion. I want you to stand your ground, take a deep breath and exercise your newly adopted regime. You are going to shut up. After you have completed this first task, you can go home, log into your computer and post me a note at the base of this blog. Your notes should resemble this:
- The world did not end because I didn’t add my $.25 worth of information.
- I feel just fine, actually I feel great because I exercised restraint.
- I don’t have to relive my dumbass comment over and over again on Facebook, on Twitter or via text message.
- I know have an extra 30 minutes to work on being a better me.
How does that feel. I feel better. I hope you do too. Congrats, you are now a part of the revolution!
Now shut up!