All it took is one tiny hammer to break my glass exterior.
The car remains in the driveway. No cars can get through. Zero apologies are handed out. The tissue box in my boot is empty. The rage starts to boil to the top of my brain.
“Move your car ya punk!”
What follows is an altercation that starts with one tiny line.
“I’ll report you.”
Driveway blocker: “Well I’ll smash your windscreen. Mind your own business you busybody.”
The cop friend I used to drink with would be really handy right now. Too bad I don’t drink anymore, I thought to myself. I park the car. No action is taken. All the fantasies in my head vanish.
It’s over … not quite.
The rest of my day is spent in a rage. The peacefulness in my head is replaced with a bonfire of toxic thoughts only a good night’s sleep can burn clean. The next day I wake up. The cycle repeats.
I lived most of my life as a fragile individual, deathly afraid of the world, but phenomenal at acting like bulletproof glass. I loved to blow up at every little thing. It’s why my focus was all over the place.
The underrated idea of silence has changed my world. I don’t look in the past for pain anymore. The past is simply a lesson for the future me. The present is a place to be free to think. The future is, well, not guaranteed.
The power of silence can abolish a fragile existence. Try these techniques I got from a tweet to become unbreakable.
Think in silence
Silence helps elevate the thinking process. When your thoughts are free to swirl around inside of your head, clarity is eventually reached. The problem is thoughts need enough time to bring you insight. Ten minutes won’t cut it.
The first ten minutes of thinking is where your brain cleans out all the mental sludge. The longer you can think in silence, the deeper you can dive. There’s something to be said for sitting in a quiet room to think.
While in Japan in 2016, I observed Japanese businessmen who showed up to the same onsen as me. They wouldn’t sit in the spa inside. Too much noise. They’d carefully strip down to their manly parts, grab a towel, and slowly walk outside. In the backyard of the onsen were wooden tubs of hot water. These were reserved for quiet contemplation. Nobody made a noise in this area. It was an unwritten rule to shut your mouth.
In that moment it hit me: Western culture doesn’t have places you pay to go to sit in silence. You could argue it should be free. But the price of admission to the onsen guarantees silence. Public places don’t have the same silence contract.
The thinking I did in the many onsens I visited helped me recover from a bad breakup. Life made sense when it became obvious how stupid my selfish lovesickness had been.
Find a place to go where you can sit in silence.
Listen in silence
I can be terrible in conversations. I think about my next sentence rather than listen to what is being said. I’ve learned to shut up more.
A conversation you have, where you mostly sit in silence, holds enormous rewards. Repeating your own thoughts to another person doesn’t make you smarter. Inhaling another person’s thoughts does.
Challenge yourself to have conversations where you listen in silence. Notice the difference. Feel how you’re less stressed because you don’t have to focus on what to say.
The world is changed through listening, not listening back to the mixtapes of your own awesomeness.
Observe in silence
Most scenarios don’t require you to act. It’s tough to see a situation happen in front of you that goes against your values. The ego wants to reinforce your values to make it all better.
I’ve recently observed all the conspiracists who pollute my social media feeds. They make up illogical arguments. They present links to crimes against humanity caused by individuals that are dead wrong, that are links to completely different people.
No matter what I say they’ll stay glued to their lies. I’ve tried before. It doesn’t work. To post a reply only adds to the noise. Actually it’s worse. A reply compounds the noise. That’s what they want you to do. They want you to draw attention to their QAnon philosophy on life. No thanks.
It’s better to observe in silence. It’s better to dare bend your worldview towards theirs to understand why they do what they do. It’s better to have compassion for the differences between you and them than label them the enemy. If humans become the enemy we’ll accidentally blow each other up.
Try to observe. Fight the good fight in silence. If more people observe in silence, the world will be a better place. Noise rarely solves anything.
The older I get, I prefer silence over having the last words — Sovereigneur
Talk only when needed
What if you showed up to the next business meeting and said nothing?
Towards the end of my last 9–5 job I became incredibly silent. There were times where I’d be asked a direct question and simply use body language to stop an answer from being spoken.
A lot of the time criticisms aren’t needed. Those who run the show know what the issues are. They don’t need to be reminded. They need to feel the pain from indecision. Talk less. Talk when needed, not because it’s a habit to respond to every question asked of you.
You report to no one except yourself. Self-talk happens in silence. The rest is optional.
Silence helps you become antifragile because you learn more. When you learn more, you succeed more in life. Use silence as a weapon against all the rocket launchers aimed at you day-to-day. No reaction equals peace.