I read books. When I read, I don’t talk. I “listen” to the words of another. As I read, my mind sometimes tend to wonder. I start thinking other thoughts that do not have anything to do with the book in hand. I think about the things I read. I want to say something, but the author won’t hear me. I can meditate on it. I can discuss it with others. I can even write about it when I’m not actually reading it. I have many options available to me, but the best option is to read, to digest it, and then to think about it.
I have many conversations throughout the course of a day. When someone else is talking, I don’t talk. I listen. As I listen, my mind sometimes tend to wonder. I start thinking other thoughts that do not have anything to do with what I am hearing. I also think about the things I hear. I want to say something, but the person I am conversing with really wants to say her part without me interrupting her. I can let her finish. I can think on it. I can discuss it with her or, if appropriate, with others. I have many options available to me, but the best option is to listen, to digest it, and then to think about it…before I offer my opinion.
Yes, this was redundant, but I felt it was necessary. On occasion I start talking, and I can’t shut up. When I get in trouble by saying or writing the wrong things, it is because I kept on going, when it was best to zip it. It is a fault in discretion. I’m not thinking; I’m just going. What I am not doing when this happens is listening. So many problems can be avoided if I would only shut up and listen.
The less men think, the more they talk. –Montesquieu