There is a behavioral tendency that many people have that defers our most inspirational dreams, derails our best laid plans, and deflates our enthusiasm to follow through. That tendency is speaking. Specifically, the tendency to speak about big plans or important projects. The bigger the plan is, the greater the temptation is to talk about it. And in my view, the temptation to talk about that grand plan is directly indexed to the risk of destroying it through inaction. For many of us, the more excitedly we talk about some idea we have in the works, the less likely it is to come to fruition. I am advocating for silent action as an elixir to that ailment.
I am no psychologist or psychiatrist and I have no empirical evidence to prove this. But the boatload of anecdotal evidence to support my theory could sink a naval aircraft carrier. So any objections to my view based on evidence are well taken: I can’t prove it, but I firmly believe its true.
In further support of my theory I will be the first to throw myself on the mercy of the court of public opinion: I confess here and now to having discussed ideas ad nauseum that never made it off the scratch-paper of my imagination. No blueprint ever materialized- much less a groundbreaking for brick and mortar construction. In my defense- and in defense of all of us who have the propensity and proclivity for vivid visions- some ideas are just mental exercise. They are practice in preparation for performance when the REAL ideas come along that really will define our lives and have a unique impact on the world.
But the problem is this: When we talk about these ideas with passion, enthusiasm or great conviction, that passionate discussion is burning up energy that is needed for executing the plan to manifest the vision. We just don’t have it to spare. How much talking do you think this woman is doing right now?
As we advance though the stages of life, our minds may strengthen and sharpen in many ways, but our total core energy peaks fairly early and begins a slow decline for the remainder of the ride. Even for those who are aging beautifully and keeping it tight this is a reality that cannot be denied. Consequently, we simply do not have energy to waste broadcasting our ideas and bloviating about our genius, our effectiveness and our prior distinctions.
I’ll put it another way. Masturbating is simulated sex- driven by similar needs, similar thoughts, similar motivations, similar visuals and even at times similar sensations. But sex can produce life. Masturbation can produce nothing. And when we are verbalizing what we are visualizing without concurrent action, we are- in practical affect, masturbating. That must be why when we want to insult a guy for being no-account and non-productive we call him a “jerk-off.” And who wants to be a jerk-off?
So if you have something that is important to you- something that you really want to do and accomplish for your life, my advice is to NOT to talk about it because speaking your vision could very well weaken your vision. I am drawing a distinction between just talking about it and performing the verbal acts required to bring your vision to life. The verbal acts are the conversations that you must have to build your team, to secure your opportunities or to garner your support that will give your vision the oxygen, sunlight and water it needs to grow.
So if there is any discussion that is non-essential to your vision, don’t have it. Only speak about your vision with those that you need to be a part of it and if they are NOT going to be a part of it after your overture, do not speak with them about it again. Protect your vision from being weakened by unnecessary rejection, naysayers and non-believers. And protect your vision from your own reflexes to conflate words with action. When you are talking about it, in all likelihood, you are not working on it.
The good news is that if this message stings your eyes or burns your ears a little bit then that means you really need to heed it- God knows I did. The better news is that you may have just gotten the last piece of the puzzle you need to bring your whole vision together. You don’t have to experience the pain of a zipper across our lips like our poster-boy at the top to just shut up and start working. Or to put it in the urban vernacular: