“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
The more I get out into the world, the more I’m convinced this is terrible advice—especially for people wise enough to take maxims like this seriously. Successful people ask questions. They take risks. They probe for answers. They don’t sit silently in the corner. They use what they know to carve a niche for themselves where they can begin to build a life. This has never happened by saying nothing, and has only ever happened by saying something. Even if you’re not sure what to say, your silence is rarely helpful. My old boss used to say, “The most expensive person in the room is the one who says nothing.” He was right. By saying nothing, you are almost always doing nothing. Perhaps your silence keeps you from doing too much damage, but it’s also keeping you from doing any real good. We’re called, at least, to try. I guarantee you: At the end of your life, you’ll value your failures far more than those risks you never took.