“I am rather inclined to silence...” what a great way to tell people you think before you speak, or that you may not speak at all. I’m sure in the tumultuous times in which Lincoln was President he found it hard to both speak and hold his tongue. We forget that the most powerful person in the room is not the one always talking, it is the one NOT talking and listening.
I’ve spoken to many introverts lately, people who describe themselves as thinkers instead of talkers. These people usually think long and hard before they utter a word and often find themselves with a great thought too late for the conversation. Thinking serves them very well as they are respected and have their data well verified, it also leaves them wanting when the room has moved on before their ideas have finished processing. Being self aware enough to know this about how they process conversation is a great trait. Abraham Lincoln was most likely an introvert.
In the rest of the quote Lincoln reminds us that being able to hold your tongue is a valuable asset, and one hard to find “nowadays”. How true these words ring even today, more than one hundred and fifty years later. Too many tweets, snap chats, tick tocks, facebook posts that leave us wanting nothing as it is ALL out there for the world to see, hear and read. We’ve become obsessed with taking the perfect photo to post instead of enjoying the moment for ourselves. Celebrities, politicians, family, friends, contacts, “friends”, likes and dislikes drive our behavior, our words and our actions. We have forgotten that silence, and a few well chosen words can change things through the power of influence rather than the power of being overwhelmed. SOOO much information and so little time to process it all.
Strange to think that in 1865 Lincoln was suffering from the same problem we have, too many people saying too many words. His solution was to craft, rewrite, speak well and let kindness guide his voice. His words have been engraved on national memorials to remind us that silence, thinking and speaking have meaning IF we allow ourselves to savor the silence. Choose your words wisely as you never know where they will end up.