Why Too Quiet Can Be a Bad Thing

8 12 2010

In our busy world we are constantly trying to achieve balance and peace. It seems we are always trying to find shelter from the busyness and noise of the workplace. However, what if things were totally quiet in our lives? What if there were no distractions? No competing priorities? No background noise? Total silence is not necessarily a good thing. Can your life be too quiet?

As any parent of small kids can tell you, when things suddenly get quiet is usually not a good sign. It usually means that “something” that you are not aware of… is going on. Something that needs to be discovered.“Quiet can be a sign that something is wrong or that we are stagnant.”

A quick story…

Back when my dad was in the Navy, he learned to get sleep whenever he could. (Some believe that military life is really a secret government experiment in sleep deprivation.) He could sleep through anything. Loud equipment, drills, engines. However, the one thing that could wake him instantly from a deep sleep was… silence. Why? When everything is suddenly silent on a ship at sea, it usually means that you have lost power. Not good. The deafening silence was louder than any alarm. Silence represented something that was amiss.

What Silence Means…

Silence can be peaceful. But, it does not always mean that you are at peace. If your life is too quiet… it could mean…

· You Are Too Comfortable – Too comfortable in your comfort zone. Too comfortable with the status quo. This is dangerous because you will miss opportunities, often without knowing.

· You Are Stagnant – Quiet can result from lack of activity. You are not getting anything done or making progress. Not good if this is happening in your job.

· You Are Not Growing – You are not learning things or experiencing new things.

· Something is Not Working – Quiet can mean something is not working correctly. I recently stopped getting messages via one of my networks. For a few days, I did not think much of it. Finally, I realized that the silence was due to a breakage. Oops. How long did it take for me to notice the silence?

· People Are Not Telling You Things – If you are a leader or boss, silence can mean that your team has stopped communicating with you. This can be a critical issue. Find out why the flow of information has stopped. (This can also be a big sign in personal relationships!)

· You Are Not On Task – If things are too quiet, you are probably not on task or target. You will get attention, and sometimes friction, when you are doing important work. Of course, that noise is often coming from those that are sitting quietly doing nothing.

Make (Some) Noise

What would happen if we attained total quiet? Would we be happy? Would we be productive? Would we still be doing anything?

If you find things are too quiet in your life, maybe you need to take a look around.

And ask yourself why things suddenly got so quiet… Then get out there and make some noise!




One response

9 12 2010


Nice post. You might also enjoy this TED talk if you haven’t seen it already.



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