Speaking up

Jun 06, 2020 | words: 425 | time to read: 2 min

Writing with the right motivation is worthwhile because it's more like doing than talking.

It’s easy to have thoughts and opinions that feel like they’re worth sharing. It’s more difficult to know when they actually are worth sharing. This prevents me from writing, but also from sharing my thoughts with those around me.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.1

As much as I can, I try to stick the principle that you should always do more than you talk. Knowledge that cannot be translated into action is worthless. It’s easy to talk about things and difficult to do them. One who has crossed the chasm between knowledge and action is more trustworthy and more likely to have something to say.

People often comment that I’m quiet and that I should speak up more. People who say that are right, but not in the way that they think they are. Part of the motivation for this blog is to speak up in a way that is thoughtful, considered and based in experience, rather than in theory.

This creates a dilemma. Do I write more? About the things that I’m learning and struggling with? Or, do I wait until I’ve put the thing into action before sharing my thoughts with others? The more I write and examine my motivations, the more writing feels like its own kind of action worth sharing.

If you’re writing for other people, you will almost always be talking more than take action. If you’re writing to figure something out and then sharing that with others, that is a kind of action. This kind of writing is more akin to the musician performing a piece of music. They aren’t trying to convince you of anything. For the musician, the point isn’t whether you enjoyed the piece of music. The point is that it is their artistic expression. Whether you enjoyed it is out of their control and beside the point.

This has implications for social media more generally. Most people on social media these days equate sharing with doing. Sharing has its place, especially if you have a platform that you’ve earned by way of authenticity. Most people on social media don’t have a platform. They have a disjoint group of people they’ve connected with throughout their life. These people haven’t always agreed to hear what you have to say. By posting, it can feel as though you’re talking to an interested crowd. But, in actuality, you’re yelling into the void.

I hope I’m not doing the same.