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#46 You Have the Right to Remain Silent

The right to remain silent.

You have the right to remain silent. They say this all the time on police shows. It is usually said at the wrong time, but I’m not about to get into the legalities of show cops vs. reality cops. Why do you have the right to remain silent? Shouldn’t you defend yourself in this situation? Isn’t your opinion important? What’s wrong with speaking your mind? Why shouldn’t you let someone have it for saying something with which you disagree?

Reasons to remain silent.

Silence is a source of strength.

The Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Silence is a source of great strength.” The strong or confident don’t talk about it. They just do what needs to be done and then walk away. The Lone Ranger never stood around bloviating his reasons for his actions. He rode into town, solved a problem, and buggered out of there. People were left to wonder “Who was that masked man.”

Silence makes you appear more intelligent – for a moment.

My dad used to tell me, “It is much better to remain silent, and risk looking like a fool, than to open your mouth and remove the doubt.” A man learns more by listening to the words of another than by taking over the conversation with words of his own. Even if the person you’re talking to knows less about a subject than you do, it sometimes pays to let him keep going. He might inadvertently reveal one nugget of information you hadn’t heard before.

Silence keeps you from saying the wrong things.

Samson slew 10,000 men with the jawbone of an ass. An equal number of negotiations were murdered the same way. Speaking too soon gives away your position. It also reveals your emotion points, your “triggers” that might lead you to spill out an emotional reaction instead of a providing a well-planned response.

Silence is the fence around wisdom.

Wise truths, when stated poorly, lose their spark of genius. Silence gives you time to formulate appropriate wording. When I was in training on the police department (decades ago), the trainers drilled into us that our radio transmissions should be concise, complete, coherent. While you’re rambling on about all the details of your boring run, another officer can’t break into your airspace to announce he’s being shot at or involved in a foot chase. Short, sweet, and simple, then get off the mic. The same with our regular communications. Silence while someone else is talking gives us time to plan what we’ll say and how we’ll say it.

Silence is listening, listening is learning.

Listen to understand, not to reply. We often get caught up in how to react to someone else and often lose the nuanced translations of their words. They might not be so concise in their speech, but their rambling gives us clues to the real point they’re trying to make.

Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud.

The confident state their truths by their actions. And they usually act only when it is necessary. Insecure people spend energy being loquacious. One of the things that shocked and impressed me when I watched “Forrest Gump” was that while he was quiet most of the time, he took massive action when it needed doing. He never hesitated to tune a guy up when he was out of line with his Jenny. That scene when she was playing on stage in the nude is one good example. He went in like a rocket to take care of business, and never even said a word to the guy. He didn’t need to brag, insult, intimidate, or posture. He just acted. And acted correctly. Without explanation.

When should we remain silent.

When asking a question.

There is an axiom in sales, used in the film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “The next one who speaks, loses.” When I became a detective, one of the more experienced guys in the office told me the same thing. “Ask the question” he would say, “then shut up.” People hate silence, and they’ll say anything to fill the void. If in a negotiation, they’ll soften their demands, if a sales call, they’ll take the deal or give you another objection to work with, if they are guilty of a crime, they’ll fill the air with their defense, which leaves them open to more questions. And thus, more void.

When insulted.

Few things are more annoying to some people than throwing down a good insult only to have it not acknowledged at all. It is unnerving to be ignored when trying to demolish someone when you can’t win the argument any other way. Silence gives the signal that you’re not phased in the least by cutting words.

When threatened.

Remaining silent when threatened is one of the greatest signs of confidence. The fight or flight side of our autonomic nervous system encourages us to defend ourselves. This is exactly what someone threatening us wants us to do. We say things we don’t want to say when stressed. This gives our opponents more ammunition to use against us. Silence gives them nothing. Own the confrontation.

When proving a point.

State your truth. Then shut up. Let them ruminate, or if they choose, react emotionally, and give you more ammunition for your argument. Elaborating your point is redundant and fruitless.

When supporting a friend in pain.

Not every encounter is a confrontation. When someone is in pain, or needs a shoulder upon which to commiserate, they don’t need a lecture. Sometimes words just sound hollow and meaningless. When serving in a support role, simply hold the space while they process their situation. They need support, not prattle.

Silence is our ticket to wisdom, our method of victory, and our display of confidence.

“Even in the sheath the sword must be sharp. So too must the mind and spirit be in the body.” Viking Proverb.

Silence allows us the time to pull away from the flight or fight mode, analyze a situation for what it truly is, and formulate a correct response at the proper time. I’ll go over some of these other concepts in future writings.

Until then, find your gift, share it with the world, and live in happiness.


Joe “Weeg” Weigant is an empowerment coach who specializes in combining different bodywork and energy work modalities (Reiki, Acupressure, Tuning Forks, Massage, Reflexology, Sound/Vibration Therapy) to release trauma, reset the autonomic nervous system, and balance the energy systems of the body. This begins the healing process in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives. Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine and Pure Herbs Ltd. and is a Representative for Juice Plus. Weeg teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.

Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.

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