The content of my weekly blogs is drawn primarily from ancient Hebrew wisdom literature, while the 2020 format was inspired by James Clear’s “3-2-1” Thursdays. Building from my recent book UNBEATABLE! Seven Pillars of Personal Excellence, each blog will contain One Pillar/Proverb, One Principle and One Practical.
“Do not rush to speak, the texts say, or to assert; above all, avoid speaking out of anger. By implication, all good speech is informed by contemplation—of God above all, but also, by extension, in a contemplative attentiveness to one another.”-Philip Sheldrake
Do you find it easy to think and ponder meaningfully before speaking? I have so much to learn in this area, especially as someone whose career and spiritual calling are built on communication. In last week’s blog, I addressed the issue of truly listening. This week, we look at the other side of the coin: our speech. However, my focus is not on our words, but on what happens in those few seconds before we open our mouths.
I love how Sheldrake put it in his quote above. “All good speech is informed by contemplation.” Words matter. We see it all the time. Even as the global conversation continues to centre on equality, justice and race relations, we have seen passionate, heartfelt pleas on one end and many apologies on the other. It’s all about words.
But before we speak, we must think. We must contemplate. We must pause. It means that we cannot be in a rush when we seek to give advice, share an opinion or offer words of comfort. We must consider God and his sovereign stewardship of world affairs. He is not asleep. We must consider each other, because life is about relationships not accomplishments. Together, let us learn how to begin every sentence we utter, with quiet contemplation. It has the power to change lives.
In your upcoming conversations this week, pause for five seconds before you talk. The value in this practice may surprise you.
To learn more about these pillars of personal excellence, read UNBEATABLE! which is now available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.