“The danger of silence” – Clint Smith

The whole talk is inspiring. I feel like I need to listen to it more to get everything if I’m listening and thinking seriously. What’s stuck in my head right now are the core principles he has posted in front of his classroom for his students:

Read critically.
Write consciously.
Speak clearly.
Tell your truth.

All things I need to work on and think on…

To me,

Do you really know what it means to read critically? You’ve spent so much time in school, ideally learning how to question. As a kid, you’ve spent so much time reading for enjoyment…so you know how to read, how to read quickly and efficiently. But do you read critically? Do you think about what you’ve read?

Do you write consciously? Writing on the computer, typing, deleting…it’s easy to feel like anything you write is transient and ephemeral. However, writing has always been the measure by which we judge the past and even the present. Writing survives and ultimately defines us. And ironically, with the advent and development of the internet, writing and words are more permanent, not less. The internet is forever. Write consciously. Before writing, make sure you know. In order to know, read much and think about what you’ve read. Read critically.

Do you speak clearly? Short answer? Hard truth? No. Rambling and stuttering may have been charming at one point but…it is important not to be misunderstood. It affects everything from friendships and family and lovers to professional relationships and how the general world perceives you…and that matters. As unfair as it may seem sometimes, the judgment of intimates and strangers actually matters in real ways. Understanding what you are saying is essential to actually articulating it for anyone else to understand. Think before you speak. But don’t think too much before you speak. Over-thinking and second-guessing…depresses confidence. And confidence is important when speaking clearly. Be confident in speaking. Confidence comes from knowledge. Self-convincing knowledge. Knowing requires reading and thinking critically.

Do you tell your truth? Again, no. Do you know your truth? No. Growing up surrounded by people who have one truth, the same truth, the concept of “your truth” is…alien…and overwhelming. Honestly, a bit too overwhelming. Have you been putting off thinking and meditating on your truth? What is your truth? Know that it’s probably fluctuating and complicated…that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. Think on it. Think critically and honestly.

That’s a lot of…stuff to work on. Should I get started?

Love,        me