As I was measuring out chocolate cake batter at work today, I was thinking about this movie I had watched a couple days ago. And as I rewatched a scene of it in my minds’ eye, I started to grin ridiculously, and almost began laughing. I caught myself just before a giggle escaped. Self-consciously, I looked up and made sure no one had noticed, before going back to my measuring.
I was still thinking about this moment as I left work today, wondering why it felt so weird.
And it dawned on me.
I was thinking about something funny and reacting to it on the outside, but not sharing it verbally.
It felt odd for some reason. If I was thinking about something funny that isn’t personal, inappropriate or complex in any way, why wasn’t I sharing it with someone else around me? Why didn’t I just say it? It wasn’t important. They’d probably forget it later anyway, so if they didn’t find it funny as I did, then it would be okay. What would be the harm in sharing it? Nothing.
I’m not so sure now.
Let me explain.
I’ll be the first to tell you I talk too much. I know I talk too much. I’ve been told I talk too much. People imply I’m talking too much. I do it. I know.
But lately, as I’ve been becoming more involved in my Praxis journey, I’ve begun to notice myself talking less, listening more and asking more specific questions. I’ve noticed even my need to always be talking has lessened.
Part of the cause was definitely last month’s project. Having to interview people meant I had to talk less. But I think after my almost-laughing-at-work moment I’ve finally discovered the root cause.
For the first time in my life, I have more going on in my head than what is coming out of my mouth.
Because of all the things I’m doing in Praxis, I’m thinking more. Because of all the good content that I’m consuming on a daily basis now, I’m thinking more. I’ve made a point to read well-written books, watch thought-provoking movies, and so I’m thinking more.
I’ve stopped oversharing. I’m not talking about useless things or using unnecessary description nearly as much. I’m not letting my mouth run away without me anymore.
There’s a phrase my mom used to say when I was growing up: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Which meant that what you read has an effect on your mind, and what comes out of your mouth is influenced by it.
I’m adding an additional note to that.
Always have more going on in your head than what is coming out of your mouth.
Constantly, constantly consume good content. Make sure that you’re not putting garbage in you every day. But I want to take that a step further too.
Be more aware of your surroundings. Listen to the little details in people’s speech so you can ask good follow up questions. Listen. Consider. Before even one word comes out.
You have two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that. You should be listening twice as much as you’re talking, taking in all that is around you. Absorb it. Digest it. Consider it before you even open your mouth to make a comment about it.
Think about the world around you. Consider what’s in front of you. Plan out future projects. Come up with blog post ideas. Think about why that movie you watched last night was so good, or that book you read last week had a terrible ending.
Figure out the why to everything you’re consuming.
And do all this before you let any of it escape your lips.
Because thinking is more important than speaking sometimes. Because understanding yourself, figuring out plans, setting up ideas, all of these things start in your mind. You have to get it going in your mind before you can speak it anyway.
So why not keep up as much going on up there as you possibly can? I promise you, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to think more than you talk.
And let me know how it goes.