Sometimes you just have to shut your mouth! Or, I should say, I have to shut mine. There are times when it is better to say nothing. So many times in the past I have thought to myself, "Way to go. You have to go and open your big mouth, didn't you? When are you ever going to learn to be quiet.?" Apparently, the learning is a constant process.
We have all heard the cliches about opening mouth and inserting foot or engaging your brain before putting your mouth in gear, but I am pondering the question of whether and when to speak at all. I have often wondered what would happen if I chose not to speak for an extended period of time and just observed. This does not fit in with my practical life, of course, so I have never tested it, but it still intrigues me.
We all say things we wish we wouldn't have from time to time. I am not speaking of nasty or rude things, although I am sure there is plenty of that, but those things we choose to share with others, and then we get comments for which we we didn't ask or feedback we didn't solicit. Often, this is not constructive and comes from unqualified sources and in a negative fashion. Especially when we are discussing our work, comments such as these can smother the spark that ignites the creative process. This is when pausing to think before choosing to speak can come in handy.
Critique is good, and we should seek it on a regualr basis. It gives us something to look at from another's point of view and perhaps gain a fresh perspective. It helps us improve and often encourages us to try new things. If you aren't in the frame of mind to receive critique, however, whether it be your work or your personal life, then you just might want to keep quiet.