Silence Continued

Silence Continued

For further discussion on Brother Benjamin Franklin‘s second virtue

This week I want to get into a little more detail—a bit more of the practical application of the science.

Years ago, I was in a meeting hosted by a vice-president of marketing. A meeting called shortly after the V.P. had taken over the project and we all knew he was unfamiliar with the product and the team.

There were five of us total, and I was newly appointed to my position as the product manager, having previously been the designer for the product. So, while the others loudly voiced their opinions, expressed their frustrations, and boisterously rambled on about things that were barely on track, I sat quietly. My silence wasn’t out of obedience to the virtue, but rather a fear of misstepping and it is not to this that I draw your attention.

While I was sitting quietly in observation, I noticed that the V.P. hadn’t said a word. At first, I thought that he didn’t know how to control such a dynamic set of personalities, but as I watched, I understood that he was educating himself. He was observing the rank and file much in the same way a reconnaissance team would. He was determining their strengths, weaknesses, and the way that they held themselves. After some time where he inserted but one or two questions to help direct the barrage of words, he took control of the meeting. He’d come to some sharp conclusions as well as determining that he needed more information in some areas to make a concrete decision. From his silence, he took a position of strength and leadership. He spoke from an educated stance, and when he spoke, he didn’t lace his meaning with superfluities which could misdirect those he talked to away from the subject at hand. After that meeting, I determined to try my hand at his methodology, and have been practicing it ever since to one degree of success or another.

From silence, brothers, we can obtain a position of balance and understanding that will allow us to act upon our fraternity’s ideals positively. As illustrated in my story, a person who allows time for their opinions and logic to form before running their mouth positions oneself on a firmer foundation. A foundation unimpacted by emotion or instinctual action. In fact, the dialogue of a man whose words are birthed from silence strengthen his foundation where those who are fountains wash the sands upon which they stand right out from under their feet.

I urge you, brothers, to consider this as you engage in conversations of both the written word and the verbal sort. Represent yourself and our order with words birthed of the virtue of silence.

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