“Natural selection, you piece of crap.”
The comment lights up my iMac screen. On that day I anonymously join a new social media platform. I post a personal story that I think can help people.
Within an hour there are over 100 comments.
I write in the post that I’m happy to answer any questions about it. Hundreds of strangers come from all corners of the internet. I’ve never seen hate like this, except for the Holocaust.
After 75 minutes I delete the post and the account. It messes with my head. “How can people be that terrible to another human?”
By being loud with my story, I spent the rest of the day in silence. That’s what loud noise can do to you.
There are quiet geniuses amongst us who defy the odds. They don’t suffer from the same problems I do. Here are a few reflections from the ones I know.
“The more you know the less you say”
People that talk a lot are procrastinators.
Instead of creating, they’re busy spewing nonsense and being part of every conversation they can stick their big nose in. Smart people don’t have time to say a lot. Their brain is full of ideas they can’t wait to execute on.
What drives them isn’t the significance they get from noise generation. The desire to talk a lot feels stupid to them when they’ve got a cause greater than themselves to attend to.
Loud people are bored. They’re purposeless.
I talk a lot when I’m bored. When I have a mission to accomplish I shut up and lock myself in my bedroom so I can work. Maybe I’m weird.
When the mission is over for the day I can easily find myself scrolling my life away. After a good scroll the temptation to make some noise is high because it’s embedded in the algorithms that run our online lives.
If you find yourself wanting to be loud, reconnect your brain to a goal that matters to you. Hard to be loud then. You’ll just want to work in silence.
Noise is boredom in disguise.
Boredom leads to laziness followed by stagnation if it’s not addressed. Do that for long enough and you’ll feel lifeless.
“The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know”
(Fiona The Millennial Money Woman)
Loud people seek to talk a lot so they can show you how smart they are. Quiet geniuses don’t need to talk a lot because their intelligence isn’t rooted in ego.
Intelligence status games don’t interest them. They can hold two opposing ideas in their brain without throwing a tantrum online in an adult diaper. The goal is for them to think, not be right. None of us know that much.
We’re 1 of 7 billion people.
Our experiences are tiny specs of start dust in an infinite timeline we’ll get to spend about 85 years being a part of. Silence makes that idea come to life.
“ A wise man once said nothing. Move in silence.”
When you’re creating it’s easy to want to share what you’re doing, often for social validation.
When you’re starting out, make your move in silence.
People are too quick to tell you what you can’t do because they can’t do it. (Loud people especially.) Adult wisdom is the belief you can do anything you want with a focused mind.
Noise is a distraction from why you’re alive.
“Confuse them with your silence. Amaze them with your actions.”
Silence confuses the sh*t out of people.
A writer friend of mine regularly gets their name put in headlines. “Aren’t you tempted to respond?!” I ask.
“My actions speak louder than my words. People can see who I am through my writing and replies in the comments.”
Just like replying to emails magically produces more emails, noise produces more noise. Be honest through your actions, not loud noise.
You only quit the thing you love when you stop to listen to the noise and get caught in its tornado.
“Move in silence, only speak when it’s time to say checkmate”
The idea of overnight success fascinates me. I recently realized that the common thought of overnight success of people like Keanu Reeves is really the sign of a hidden genius.
They work quietly on their craft after hours. They lock themselves away. They miss drinks with the boys to continue to let their creativity pour out of them.
Then one day they wake up, release their creation, and quietly whisper checkmate to themselves.
When you talk too loudly through the creation process your work looks normal. When you shut up and build behind closed doors it looks like a fluke or overnight success. I’m in love with the quieter form.
Example: I own an online academy. It has no website or marketing. You cant google it, yet it has 1000s of students. Marketing is overrated. More noise doesn’t create value. Whisper what you do to the people who care.
Loneliness brings out your quiet genius
After the social media mess I created, I spent the day alone. I went for a walk. Told no one about what had happened.
At the end of a 30-minute walk I find myself at a lake. I look into the water. All I can see is my reflection. A bird swoops into the water. Tiny ripples mess about the mirror reflection of my face. See, even a bird can mess up a perfect moment.
This is a metaphor for everyday life.
A moment is only messed up if you expect it to be perfect. Imperfection, though, is what drives true beauty and reveals your inner genius.
Quietness is the elevation of another superpower
If you follow what quiet geniuses do there’s one big problem: some people will say you’re too quiet. People at work may think you’ve lost your mind.
Pammy on twitter says, “For every person who thinks you’re ‘too quiet’ there’s someone else who thinks you’re an amazing listener.”
She’s bang on.
Quiet geniuses don’t need to talk as much because they’re busy listening. It’s through listening that they appear so smart — because they hear things loud people don’t.
They pick up on the nuance. They hear the subtleties in someone’s tone of voice. They pay attention to body language for secret cries for help.
If dumb equals talking too much, genius equals listening too much.
It all boils down to this
This quote explains it all: “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.”
When you trust yourself and your judgment, silence is easy. When you have no idea what the heck you’re doing and are deeply afraid, you make noise to compensate, taking you away from the quiet zone of genius.
Admittedly, I’m not there yet. I have a long way to go.
But every day I’m alive, I realize more and more how important it is to spend less time speaking, and more time in silence.
If you spot a quiet genius, make sure you high-five them. They’ll save the world from ruin if they keep up their silent act of hidden brilliance.