Silence! There’s an elephant in the room.

I have always been uncomfortable with silence. For as long as I can remember, silence has had a negative connotation that has only just began to wear off.

Silence has been criticism. It was what I got when someone didn’t approve of my point of view, my work or my presence. Silence has been disappointment. It reminded me of the shaking head, too disappointed to utter any words. Silence has been malice. That is the ultimate punishment for non-compliance, or the only way to make that critical point. It was evidence an elephant was very much in the room. For me, silence has meant stupidity. It was the response of those who didn’t know the answer or who were out of their depth. I may have been wrong about silence.

Courtesy of a Rand Fishkin presentation (Co-Founder, SEOmoz)

I have often let anxiety set in when silence ensued. I worried about the gap and frequently tried to fill it with words and humour. I worried that the silence signalled disapproval. Silence was very much red. However, I have been learning to embrace silence and not to always interpret it as a bad thing.

As an interviewer, one must use silence to draw more detail from a candidate. Silence can be invaluable in a meeting or negotiation as one observes, listening to all sides of the story and perhaps finally voicing out a relevant suggestion to the situation. Silence can be reflective. Some of the smartest people I know are very quiet and take their time to respond to questions or voice opinions. For many years, I put myself under incredible pressure to speak even when I didn’t feel like or have anything to say. I thought people would think I was stupid for my silence. It is a huge relief to just stay quiet…I learn more that way.

I wouldn’t say my enemy, Silence is now a friend. The anxiety it brought is gone but I occasionally find myself interpreting a person’s silence as disapproval. But I talk myself out of it quickly, aiming not to analyse beyond a few seconds. So although I’m not yet convinced the elephant is completely out of the room nor that silence is always golden, I can perhaps now say that silence has several meanings and can take form in many colours.

Are you comfortable with silence?

I’m taking the writing plunge. Three years later.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. It takes place in November every year and presents an opportunity to write a 50,000-word novel. I immediately got drawn to the idea of taking part and planned to do so that very November. Unfortunately, many events drowned out my desires and I never took part. 1,677 words a day is a lot, in fact it’s scary. But this year, I won’t let that deter me. I’ll just write. Some days I’ll do 2,000 words and on some days I may write 200 or nothing at all. There’s a skeleton of a tale in my head and I think it’ll be liberating to let it out.

So wish me luck, my dear friends. I’ll need it. The writing will begin on 1st November and you’ll be able to see my progress on this blog as I’ll be installing a widget for word count. I may solicit ideas for twists and turns in my story through polls in this blog. Please indulge me.

Doing this three years later may be a good thing after all. A lot has changed and my take on life is more relaxed and less severe. This is thanks to growing up (being on the right side of 30) and taking myself less seriously. You can therefore be rest assured that even if I fall short of the target word count of 50,000 words at the end of November, you won’t have to talk me off the ledge.

How Steve Jobs lived before he died

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

I knew Steve Jobs was sick but I didn’t expect him to go so quickly after leaving Apple. Everyone knows he was Apple. I don’t know if he has an apprentice who shared his passion, to help the firm continue to produce disruptive technologies. I certainly hope so. I feel much closer to my iPhone today. I bought a fanciful cover for it (more about that later) and I keep looking at it, relishing what I have of Steve.

I was still down and out when I read this article about him on wired.com. I felt a sense of relief when I read about his life and his words. I will take this away with me:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,”
Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results
of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions
drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to
follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you
truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

He certainly knew how to live before he died. If I learn anything today, let it be this.

R.I.P Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Special blog announcement

As from November 1st, the primary domain name of my blog will change. I can’t tell you what it is yet. You’ll be able access to the blog with the secondary domain name:
https://mybusinessaddiction.wordpress.com but not with http://mybusinessaddiction.com.

This blog has played a huge part in helping me find my corner in life. I didn’t expect that. So 80 posts, almost 1,000 comments and 8,000 hits later, I’m glad I didn’t give up. I thank my top commenters: Frizztext, The Savvy Sister,
Single Malt Monkey and the many many people who have given feedback. And thanks to everyone who read and stalked and read some more. You are all stars!

Going forward, I’d very much love to have more variety on my blog so if you want to be a guest blogger here, simply contact me by leaving a comment and I’ll forward an email address. I’m looking for humor, work and life observations and anything inspiring! I like to keep it clean so please no profanity – even if you mean it in a nice way :-). Here’s to surviving another year of blogging. Thank you very very much!

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