I can be talkative at times. But I have trouble speaking up. I hadn’t really thought about how different those two things can be until I observed that I tend to opt for silence when I’m unsure about the things I’m about to say. I didn’t like to sound stupid or to be that only person in a room that has a different take on things. I didn’t want to invite attention to myself lest it will put me in trouble. I may have felt safe in my silence. But it didn’t make me happy. In fact, I’ve discovered that being quiet about the things that matter to me made me miserable.
Over the years, I learned that silence is powerful only if the situation calls for it. But it can be a problem when effectively communicating my views can potentially make a positive influence. I’m learning to allow myself to be heard, if needed. I figured that I have something to contribute as much as everyone else. I realized that no matter how difficult it may seem, finding your voice and using it to speak up can equally be powerful as silence. Here are some of the inspiring videos I’ve seen about topics that encourage people to share their truths:
Clint Smith: The danger of silence
“Read critically. Write consciously. Speak clearly. Tell your truth.”
This short video shows how choosing to be silent is not always a good thing. It made me think that silence can make me part of a problem. It is like a tacit approval on what people may be doing that go against my beliefs and values. By not speaking up, I’m empowering abuse and injustice that I may be a witness to.
Saying the Hard Things: The Power of Speaking Up | Amanda Springob
Just imagine how many problems we can prevent if only we’re brave enough to say the hard things. But not many people go down that road. This is why groupthink exists. It feels more comfortable and safer to just agree with what everyone else is saying. Going with the flow doesn’t require much energy. Not many people want to be that person who’d speak up about the toughest things to say. But it might just be what’s needed to avoid problems.
Susan Cain: The power of introverts
As an introvert, I really don’t like being on the spotlight. I work best behind the scenes and as far away as possible from prying eyes. But being quiet has its own power as this video shows. It’s a matter of harnessing the unique qualities that make us introverts different and tap on that to achieve the results we want.
Anyone who has traveled has been changed by it. Some may not be aware of it, but setting out to unfamiliar places shakes you up in subtle and not-so subtle ways. Every trip for me triggers a mix of emotions. Anticipation, excitement, fear, and worry are just some of the feelings I get before, during, and sometimes after my travels. If you ask me why I subject myself to such emotions, I’d say it’s for the experiences that traveling brings. There are always takeaways. And I feel that I’m also leaving parts of myself in places I go. It makes me understand myself and the outside world more.
I couldn’t agree more with what this infographic that I found says. There are many ways travel is good for you. For me, it’s also a way for me grow – to test myself in the midst of the unknown and the unfamiliar. Here’s how traveling has pushed me farther than what I believed to be my limits:
Learning to be more self-reliant
I have traveled solo in the past. And it’s been among the scariest things I’ve done. There’s nothing like knowing that I’m on my own to bring out a lot of anxieties and fears. I had to rely on myself while on the road. But it was also the most liberating experience I’ve had. It gave me the freedom to do what I want and take responsibility for the bad choices I made.
Seeing strangers in a new light
I used to take the “don’t talk to strangers” advice much too seriously. I’m the type who’d rather suffer than ask for help from anyone I don’t know. But traveling changed that. I had many unforgettable interactions with kind strangers who’ve helped in different ways. I discovered how sincere people can be even to people they’ve only met for the first time. This helped me grow as a person. It allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and take the time to talk with people I meet in my travels.
Nothing beats first-hand experience in broadening perspectives. It’s easy to find information online. But no matter how much I research about a place, there’s always something I discover that challenges old beliefs I had. Traveling has changed the way I see things. It made me appreciate culture and the value of respecting differences. It made me more compassionate and more conscious about keeping an open mind.
I believe in the adage that says, “Silence is golden”. This makes it easier to listen to what others are saying. Sifting through all the information you need in the midst of so much noise is a challenge in itself. Adding unnecessary chatter only makes it harder to capture the things you need to hear. But holding back from saying the things you need to say also has its downsides. It never really helps you or the people around you. I think that we have to learn to speak up if we have something that need to be said.
1. It’s an opportunity to let your ideas be heard
Some ideas need to be shared. You’re not allowing your ideas to flourish if you keep it to yourself. And you’ll never know if it’s a good one if you don’t put it out there. I’ve always felt vulnerable when I find myself in situations when I put my thoughts out there. There’s the risk of getting my idea shot down. On the flipside, there’s also a chance it could be the answer to the question or problem at hand.
2. It could help prevent bad decisions
In groups, bad decisions happen when no one dares to voice out what may be perceived as dissenting opinions. The pressure of groupthink has a way of silencing the few who may have different views. But being agreeable does not mean you can’t make any constructive criticism. Because at the end of the day, that may just be what’s needed to steer the group away from a wrong decision that could have a negative impact on everyone.
3. It’s a chance to let others know where you stand
Staying silent is often taken as consent or approval. I’ve been through a lot of situations in the past when I didn’t like the direction a group discussion has taken but didn’t say anything to voice out my concerns. This led to some unpleasant consequences that we could have easily avoided if I or anyone who share the same thoughts I did chose to speak up. My silence is often triggered with my lack of confidence on where I stand on the issue, especially when I’m not with the majority. So I’m learning to find my voice and communicate my thoughts to just to be clear about where I stand.
4. It shows you’re engaged
I noticed that people who are passionate about something use their voice to add value to the conversation. They know when to use silence and speaking up in equal measure. But they are not easily cowed by fear of ridicule. They have no qualms about saying something even if it’s an unpopular opinion. I think this kind of attitude reveals how engaged people are. It shows how invested they are on the issue or topic at hand.