The 8th Virtue: Silence

There are the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, discipline, justice, and courage. Then, there are the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Silence is not one of these seven virtues, but maybe it should be considered the eighth. It could even be the greatest of all the virtues as it gives greater weight to the others when silence in incorporated with them.

Wisdom

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of calm quiet.

Proverbs 17:27

A squeaky wheel gets the grease. The reason why is simple. Nobody wants to hear it. The wise one who makes the most noise will grate upon the ears of those within earshot. Eventually, he will get silenced and his words, no matter how profound, will be lost.

Discipline

Let silence be your general rule; say only what is necessary and in few words.

Epictetus

Discipline is all about restraint. It is doing the thing you know you should be doing even when you do not feel like it. Exercise, diet, and sobriety all require discipline. What else requires it? Your tongue and the words you say. How many ships have been sunk from a set of loose lips? How many times has a foot been inserted into the mouth? I can’t speak for others, but I know I have erred in this regard too many times to count. All because I could not temper my tongue. The sad part is in every instance, I created a communication barrier that did not need to exist. Every time! If silence was my general rule, I would have come away clean. Instead, I tripped with my tongue and fell on my face.

Justice

The closer people are to the truth, the more tolerant  they are of the mistakes of others.

Leo Tolstoy

Truth does not need to be loud. The whisper of truth is so profound that it can be heard throughout the universe. And it is in silence that we have our greatest capacity to understand it.

The ones that do not understand this are the ones who make the greatest noise. They want to be heard. They want to be acknowledged and the farther away from the truth they get, the louder they become. Look at the greatest issues that face our society. Look at the ones that would persuade you to their side. If it feels forced, if coercion is the modus operandi, one must beware.

Courage

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.

Mary Anne Radmacher

One does not see a grenade tossed amongst his comrades and exclaim, “Oh look, a grenade. I will jump on this and save everybody!” No, the hero simply jumps on it. He makes the ultimate sacrifice without any hope for acclaim. Sacrifices should be made in silence. Anything less cheapens the act and even repels those who would normally applause such actions.

The agreement is made between the mind and the heart. “This action, I will perform.” We make many of those quiet contracts throughout the day. As Benjamin Franklin once stated, “Well done is better than well said.” It is the action that counts. And if we cannot complete the task, then we listen to the quiet voice in our hearts that commits to turning the failures of the previous day into tomorrow’s success.

Faith

The disciple James wrote that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Simply put, true faith is demonstrated by our actions. One can cry out their beliefs all they want. But without living it through their actions, it is worthless. It is dead. Words mean little if there is no action behind them.

If we are always crying out our faith, what are the chances they will fall on deaf ears? People don’t really care what we say, but they do care what we do and how we make them feel. Talking to someone until I am blue in the face will assuredly alienate them. Better to pique their curiosity by quietly demonstrating my faith.

Hope

Almost 100% of my hopes are selfish. I hope others do well because I love them. I hope for a better world because I and those I care for live in it. I hope for myself because I see what is possible and have the desire to achieve it. My hopes for my future not only benefit me, but they benefit those in my circle. Therefore, I visualize what it is that I want to achieve, I make the plans, and then do all that I can to execute them.

Persist in visualizing the ideal man you are determined to be, and always think of yourself as you are ambitious to become. This mental attitude will help you to match your dream with its reality.

Orison Swett Marden

This is my communication with my future self, not with others. My hopes I keep close to my heart. Like faith, it is not what I say that matters, it is the action. Why brag about my hopes to others when they have their own hopes and dreams to contend with?

Charity

“Look at me. This person suffered, and I, out of the goodness of my heart helped them! I am awesome.”

Making such a statement tears down the goodness of the deed. It builds up one’s pride and highlights the distress of the recipient. Who is the good deed for: the giver or the receiver?

The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let your good works be so profound that your words are not necessary. Like courage, diminishing them with your self-righteous acclaim lessens the effect and may cause resentment.

Silence

The 8th virtue and possibly the most sublime. It is a virtue to be enjoyed by those around us, as well as one, that we can enjoy ourselves.

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