Fewer Words

This morning in a coffee shop I saw a quote taped to the back of someone’s computer:  “It does not require many words to speak the truth.”

These words kept coming back to me until I googled them and found that they were the words of Chief Joseph, the famous Nez Perce chief who led some 800 followers toward the Canadian border to avoid being confined to a reservation in the late 1800’s.In the end, after five days of fierce battle and only 431 of his followers left, these were some of the very few words in his surrender speech.   “I am tired.  My heart is sick and sad.  I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find.  From where the sun stands, I will fight no more.”

Finding our own truth in a few words is a process that takes patience but is an important prelude to decision making and communicating.    Writing out our random thoughts first and sleeping on them can be helpful in finding  out what we really think and how to communicate this to others.  It doesn’t take many words, just the right ones.

Some say that in an argument, the one who talks the most is often the one at fault.  Why would that be?  What does brevity have in common with expressing truth?  Maybe it is because it takes more thought and less talking to arrive at fewer words.When we are busy venting, we are not able to listen and process before we have the correct words to express our thoughts and feelings.  We are talking to think instead of thinking to talk.  The chaff of our talking to think may contain injurious and unhelpful statements that we later regret having said.

Talking over others may be an unconscious  habit of trying to control the truth in a conversation.  In the long run, it doesn’t work.  After some time to reflect, we are able to formulate our own opinions, and our thoughts take only a few words to consolidate what we believe to be the truth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *