Proverb for Today
A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11, MEV)
Have your words ever gotten you in trouble?
Unfortunately, I’ve got plenty of life experience speaking out of turn, saying things I should’ve kept to myself.
We’ve all been there. Instead of listening, working to understand what’s going on, and giving input of value, we rush to contribute to the conversation and completely miss the point. We launch out into an epic monologue, thinking we’re single-handedly solving the problem at hand, only to find out we didn’t properly identify what was actually going on, everyone has started to tune us out, and once we finally shut our mouths, no one asks for our input moving forward.
A couple problems lead to this hasty response.
For some of us, it’s our own pride. We don’t need to listen to everything going on because we know exactly what they need to hear. In our arrogance, we jump to conclusions and assume we have the right input for the conversation because, well, why wouldn’t we?
For others, it’s impatience; an unwillingness to listen to the full conversation. We don’t feel like giving the time to fully understand. In our hurry to solve the problem or close down the conversation that’s “wasting our time,” we minimize the other person’s struggle or question, again most often missing the real issue, and try to quickly ramble through a short solution to move the person along.
These behaviors are foolish.
The wisest thing we can do when someone else is talking, is listen. Instead of jumping in, cutting them off, and waxing eloquent, let the other person speak. And, as the wise man does, hold in your opinion, solution, and input until afterwards when you’re asked to speak into the situation.
Reflect and Respond
- When was the last time you put your foot in your mouth? What happened? As you look back, identify what you did wrong, making a mental note to avoid making the same mistake twice.
- When was the last time someone cut you off and missed the point of the conversation? How did that feel? Remember this the next time you’re about to jump in too early in a conversation.
- How can you help those around you learn to listen better?