The Power of Silence

Brain Bulb

The Power of Silence

I’m constantly amazed and deeply curious about the power of silence. I’ve seen how silence creates discomfort or tension in a situation. The silence that comes when a person is thinking and on the verge of an insight. The silence that happens when there is an exchange between two or more people and creativity gives rise to an idea that’s worth pursuing. This silence is life! There is so much happening in this silence. It happens in the individual, it happens in the group and it happens in the space. Yet in this silence, so much happens. We can’t see it but it’s the initial brewing phase. And here’s the key – get the brewing right and you have a gorgeous cup of coffee. In a thinking and conversation context, the arrival of silence means your thoughts are brewing. The brain is working overtime and you’ve engaged your prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain responsible for critical thinking)

Perhaps our distrust of silence is that we can’t see anything tangible in that moment. Yet I’ve learned over the years to trust the silence. it’s not a bad sign. It’s not an indication of inadequacy, laziness or any of the negative labels I suspect we associate silence with. Rather, it’s the prelude. Because when you welcome it as part of the process, you see what happens. It’s absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Like that moment when you first catch a glimpse of the ocean after a long time away. And then it lands – the idea, thought or insight lands in the mind of the thinker. You see their face light up. You see the team get excited and elevate their thinking to the next level.

And so, our goal should be to welcome silence. And to trust it, like you would trust your BFF. It’s a key component and not something to be avoided.

Go on, create your silence. And enjoy!

Thought-provoking questions:

  • Where are the opportunities for you to invite more silence into your day?
  • How does silence enhance and deepen your thinking?
  • How can you encourage others to become more comfortable with silence?
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