“Only someone who knows how to remain essentially silent can really talk—and act essentially. Silence is the essence of inwardness, of the inner life. Mere gossip anticipates real talk and to express what is still in thought weakens action by forestalling it. But someone who can really talk because he knows how to remain silent, will not talk about a variety of things but about one thing only.”
Soren Kierkegaard, The Present Age
I came across that quote from Ryan Holiday’s post titled, “Talkativeness.”
From there, he linked to three of his own posts which I thought were brilliant and each deserved mentioning.
From A False Sense:
There is a bunch of data that shows that the more we talk about things, the less we tend to actually accomplish them. This is because—and I’m sure you can think of a person in your life who does this a lot—the act of articulating the goal entails visualizing the achievement of it, and thus partially gives us credit for it in our own minds and reduces the motivation to actually do it. So doing this diminishes the payoff. There are many people smarter than I who have written about this, but there is a word for such a process that I think its very important. It’s called reification.
This process, this intuitive understanding of what something is and why, was known phronesis. It is the method of real analysis and the mark of wisdom.
This is what we miss from blogs. We have plenty of discussion and speculation, but rarely any understanding of the issues at their most basic level.
There is the impulse when we’re angry or frustrated to take that out on other people. To be short or cruel just to slacken the tension we’ve built up. Sometimes it is harsh words, sometimes it is violence but it’s the same release. I think about that scene in Fight Club where Jack funnels all his rage and pain into destroying Angel Face.
All three discuss inwardness, how we fool ourselves into achieving goals by merely thinking of them, and, as he puts it so clearly:
one illusion becomes the foundation for another illusion which in turn has its own illusions.
I have been guilty of acting upon these illusions and creating my own delusions. After reading the Kierkegaard quote and these three posts, I realize that I need to do more than what I am doing. The achievements I think I am making are not real yet. I am stopping myself short of attaining the true goal.
The only way to get there is to turn off the outside influences and begin to focus more on myself. I speak a lot about what I am planning on doing with myself, this blog, and with my clients – but never build enough momentum to finish the task.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: time to get busy.