To Speak or Not to Speak

Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

I’ve spent the last many years attributing this to Mark Twain. As I looked it up, I discovered that its also often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and its a paraphrase of Proverbs 17:28. Clearly its not a new concept! There’s an article on Quote Investigator which goes into more details should you be curious. QI’s research thinks it most likely originates with Maurice Switzer in 1906.

So if you are worried about being thought a fool, reticence may be an approach. At this point in my life, I don’t much care what most others think, so I’ll put it out there, and they can think what they will. If I was interested in reticence, I doubt I would have started writing a blog. Not that feedback and ongoing education aren’t useful and welcome, but approval is not the reason I write. I learned something today researching this quote and can now change going forward.

And of course, the counter to my opening quote is one from the Tao Te Ching: Chaos. Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos. Before a brilliant person does something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.

Your call.


For today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt of Reticent

10 thoughts on “To Speak or Not to Speak

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