“The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.” (Denzel Washington) That was the quote used in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I think we all know someone like that, a loud, brash person who is, in fact, extremely insecure and fragile. Many bullies are that way and most will back off when confronted by someone who refuses to be intimidated by their boorish behavior.
There is an old Zen saying, “Be afraid of the quiet ones. They are the ones who actually think.”
Why should you be afraid of those who actually think? Because that thinking is sometimes turned into planning and then into action. The men planning to kidnap Michigan’s Governor are an example, although they weren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree. The quiet thinkers take the time to consider alternative courses of action and choose one most likely to assure success. They also plot a cover for their actions in an attempt to escape blame; especially should their actions fail to achieve the goal. Many times the loud take action without thinking and their unplanned actions oft go awry.
But, enough about the bad people. What about those who are quiet, but not bad. Taking the time to quietly think before acting or before speaking strengthens that person in the eyes of others. They may become known for being well spoken because they think about their words before they speak or they may be considered to be level headed because they do not rush into action before thinking. If you watched how former President Barack Obama spoke, especially when answering a question; you could tell that he was thinking about both the answer and the correct words to use. He did not speak in Tweets.
People who think before acting or speaking may become a touchstone for others seeking the benefit of their quiet wisdom. Their opinion is often considered to be the strongest in the room, all because they quietly took the time to think. A passage from the Bible about quiet wisdom seems especially appropriate for our current political environment – “The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” (Ecclesiastes 9:17)
So, don’t worry if you aren’t the loudest in the room, especially when in a room full of loud fools. Quietly hold your own counsel, think and then speak softly, so that the listeners will have to lean in to hear your thoughts. Be quietly strong.