Its really difficult to decide between choosing gold and diamond, because both are precious substances that fetch a high price in the market.
Lucky for me, I can’t afford either of them, so I don’t have to worry about such trivia.
But that’s not the point of this article.
Then What Is?
You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Speech is Silver, but Silence is Gold”.
I remember the first time I came across it. It was presented as a moral at the end of a story in my Literature textbook back in 3rd grade.
And like most 3rd graders, I mucked it up diligently, because I knew I’d have to write it down for my English exam. If you asked the 3rd grade me whether I understood what it meant, I’d respond with a “Why of course I do!”.
When of course, I didn’t.
That’s a Little Odd
Contrary to what teachers usually say, they actually hate it when kids ask doubts.
I remember the first time I asked a doubt in English class. My teacher asked me to meet her after class to clarify my doubt. I didn’t really understand why she wanted to see me, or what this “clarify” thing meant. My English was very weak, and the only word that closely resembled it was Clefairy, and since I was a hardcore Pokémon fan I thought she was going to show me how I could catch one in my Gameboy Advanced.
But that’s not what happened.
I went to see her and as soon as I entered the room, she forced the door shut. “Why did you shut the door?” I asked.
“I left the AC on my dear, wouldn’t want any of that chilly air to escape, now would we?” she responded as she walked towards me, slipping out of her jacket.
“Why’d you take off your jacket?” I asked. “You ask too many questions.” She retorted as she took off her hairclip.
“I’ve been watching you” She said. “Really?” I asked, sweating and hoping this wasn’t a dream. “I’m amazed at how much you’ve grown.” pointing at a place somewhere close to groin.
And by now I knew what was going on, because I’ve watched the CD’s my Dad secretly stashed away in his cupboard, and knew exactly where this was headed.
So I responded, “I know, and believe me Ma’am, I can grow even bigger. You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I winked at her, using the same lines the actors in those “films” used before moving onto the extra-curriculars.
“Really? I still remember how you were at first, and now that you’ve started taking interest in my class, I’d like you to stay back each day and clear whatever doubts you have.”
“Wait what?” I asked, puzzled as to see things unfold in the wrong direction.
“Your English grammar needs a bit of work, and seeing you put in the effort to get better makes me proud!”
“You mean you wanted to see me grow in that direction? Not from down…you know what, nevermind.” That deflated both my ego as well as the bulge in my pocket.
Not only did I land myself in extra classes for trying to look smart
and seduce my teacher, she made it clear that I had to understand the material.
I had to read those poems and stories, answer the questions given at the back and submit them as an assignment to the female who I thought was trying to seduce me. What a twist of fate.
This is one of the many reasons why I despise school.
And of all the troublesome morals I had to understand, this one stood out the most, not because I didn’t understand it, but because I couldn’t understand it.
It’s always the loud kids who get all the praise and adoration. It’s the ones who put themselves forward that get prizes and recommendations, so what is the point of staying silent?
I could only think of few instances, with my 8 years of experience in staying alive, and spending 5 of those years staying alive in the classroom.
Keeping quite is what the other kids did, when the teacher turned around and asked “Any questions?”, to which I opened my big mouth and asked her a doubt to show the teacher I was paying attention, and also to rub it into everyone elses face.
I should have kept my mouth shut and joined the silent slumbering mass.
This is what you get for being honest.
But The Quote Stuck With Me
And now that I’m older, I see this quote in a different light, and how it relates to everything I’ve experienced so far.
Rattling on does draw attention, but it only helps in school which is an area insulated from the outside world. Almost NOTHING we study there will be of any actual use once we make it out into the real world.
And I quickly realized later on that in order to get ahead, I had to keep my mouth shut.
Say anything stupid and you will be labelled an idiot.
Say something controversial, and people will start avoiding you.
Say something good, and you still find people who will take offense.
If you are a capitalist scumbag like yours truly, then do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
I got burned several times for opening my mouth and keeping it open for far longer that I had to. As you can imagine, things weren’t great for me at the time.
But now, people treat me better, because I learned to keep my mouth shut.
I only say what is necessary and offer advice when asked. I’ve noticed that it is far easier to persuade someone by staying quiet and letting them finish instead of cutting into their conversation and telling them what to do.
If you speak too much, it comes off as arrogance and no one likes an arrogant prick who won’t take no for an answer.
Sometimes it can come off as weak and pathetic, since it makes you look desperate, which is another situation you are better off never ending up in.
Same thing applies when dealing with people; women in particular. They will hurl accusations one after the other, and if you retaliate by justifying them, then say goodbye to your image.
“You think I’m ugly!”
“Wait what? No! You’re beautiful!”
“NO! You hate me don’t you!”
“Huh? What of course not!”
“Yes you do!”
Try keeping your mouth shut instead.
“You think I’m ugly!”
“Why won’t you say anything?!”
“Forget it, I’m not talking to you anymore!”
You see what happened above? Our hypothetical girlfriend got upset and walked away. That’s when I realized that the advice was incomplete.
Keeping your mouth shut all the time won’t do the trick. You have to open it at the right time to turn the situation towards your favour, or else people will get suspicious and keep their distance.
Should I Talk or Not?
The answer is to speak only when necessary, but you have to master not speaking first.
As of now things are chaotic and unpredictable, but once you stop reacting to everything and let things settle on their own, that’s when you get those results, but you have to know whether or not what you’re doing is actually helping or not.
The more you react, the more you muddy the water. It’s really simple advice but one that’s hard to bring into practice.
Once you’ve gotten a hold of that, then you make sure to apply that to each and every area of your life, i.e. turn it into a habit. That habit is what will bring about order into your life.
The Next Step
Keeping a low profile does help, but there are times when you will have to make a move to show others that you aren’t someone to be messed with.
You need to know whether or not you are making any progress and when you see that you’re getting better, that becomes your reason to keep going. That momentum will push you further.
So, what does keeping your mouth shut do for you?
Saying less, means having less of an impact on your social environment. That means staying out of trouble, but also out of notice.
If you want to get noticed, you have to court attention, but frugally. This is very helpful when meeting people who can improve your social standing. The more people you know, the more opportunities are made available to you, which is why its important to open your mouth. Don’t just stand there hoping for a miracle, that isn’t going to impress anyone.
Then there are instances when you ought to put a lid on it. Talk too much at work, and your boss will get the impression that you’re lazy and incompetent.
Also, this change in attitude many lack luster because chances are you’ve lived life reactively, and only recently decided to adopt the cold demeanor hoping it brings in the results you’ve been desperately looking for.
You have to finetune your approach to this, and that happens with practice. Yes, people are not going to like the new you, but refusing to change won’t make things better for you. Good things come to those who try, fail and learn from their mistakes.
Take that risk, and work on yourself.