Engage Wisdom Before Your Mouth

Ink on watercolor paper – Words: Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr

I was watching a home makeover show and the contractor utilized a cut down tree from the lawn to make the dining room table. I turned to my husband and said there was more time between when they cut the tree and when the table was made than what we were shown. He asked me how I knew that and told him the timber would had to have been dried in order to make the table. Furniture cannot be made from green, wet timber.

This quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr speaks of that exact concept, not just for wood but for knowledge as well. Knowing is one thing, knowing when to share it or be quiet is another thing entirely. Just because we know something does not mean we understand the power or impact of that information. Sharing too soon or too much usually results in a violation of trust. Sharing too little or not at all usually results in misinterpreted motives or habits.

We all know people who are classic over sharers. If they know anything it is only a matter of time before it comes out of their mouth. We also know people who are like an information vault, their poke face and silence reveal nothing at all. Most of us learn over time how to live between both those extremes. It is when we go to either extreme that we usually end up in hot water.

Our best practice is to allow time and experience to ‘season’ our knowledge – when to share it, when to keep it quiet and when to just listen. Knowledge is power and it is power that cannot be taken away, unless we do it to ourselves with the end result of no one telling us anything anymore. That little voice that reminds us to say nothing is actually wisdom telling us to keep quiet. It is up to us to listen, not speak and engage our wisdom before we engage our mouth.

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