Why The Summit Can Get Crowded

I recently read an article on why the trail to Mt. Everest gets so crowded. The author, of the BBC News, stated that overcrowding is due to a number of factors: weather, popularity of the climb, limited climbing season, and inexperienced climbers. Many climbers, no matter what their level of experience, pay for the experience with their lives.

When I saw the first photo that accompanied this piece (shown above – AFP PHOTO / PROJECT POSSIBLE), I thought it looked like a line of people rushing to the next fad, the next “summit”.  How many times have we rushed to the next “best” thing – the latest diet, the latest parenting book or other “how to” book, the latest fashion, the latest food craze, etc. – only to find that it’s not what we thought it would be. Our friends may swear by Dr. So-and-so’s parenting book, or some beach diet, or a foul-tasting vegetable that’s supposed to be “good for you”. All one needs to do is watch the news to see the number of people jumping on the Whatever bandwagon and crowding the summit.

I am not one to “crowd the summit”. I may try something that’s faddish, but that’s because I’m curious – does this really work like they say it does? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve learned my lesson about investing my time and money in something faddish. I’m not so quick to do it again.

There are many divorce/trauma recovery groups, books and resources, how do you know which one is best?

1. Weather: A climber is looking for no wind, clear skies and plenty of light – ideal conditions. Sometimes, “ideal” is hard to find. However, if one ventures out and finds that conditions are less than ideal, one needs to turn around and go home. The same is true with a recovery group: the ideal recovery group is facilitated by someone who won’t let just one person hog the group’s time, the group is encouraging and not condescending, the group is sensitive to cultural boundaries, the group accepts that everyone is in a different place in their healing journey.

2. Popularity of the Climb: Summitting Mount Everest seems to be the ultimate life challenge for many people and the climb has become quite popular (as the attached photo shows). Be aware of popularity, though. For example, just because a self-help book has been on the New York Times’ Best Seller List for umpteen weeks doesn’t mean it is the right resource for you. Read the book reviews. Amazon lets one read at least the Table of Contents of a book and maybe the first couple of pages before one buys the book. Don’t be so quick to jump on the “This is the best self-help book ever!!” bandwagon. Be discerning. Wait until you can find the book at a used book store.

3. Limited Climbing Season: Climbers know that they only have so much time to reach the summit. The climbing season is not year round due factors like weather, amount of daylight, and surface stability, among others. Resources for your healing journey may only be available for a limited time. Take advantage of them while you can. For example, many employers offer an EAP or Employee Assistance Program. One aspect of the program allows a certain number of free visits to a mental health professional. This is an excellent resource to use if you cannot afford counseling. I have taken advantage of this resource and have found it to be incredibly helpful.

4. Inexperienced Climbers: Many climbers undergo rigorous training and preparation for the climb to the summit. They rely on the experience and knowledge of their expert guides and other more seasoned climbers to be able to summit successfully. Inexperienced climbers face certain death when they are not aware of climbing hazards, are poorly prepared, or have not taken the time to train for such a strenuous activity.  Your healing journey can be severely thwarted by relying on an untrained individual to walk you through counseling. Have you experienced trauma or are you experiencing PTSD? Then see a counselor who is trained to deal with trauma and PTSD. Have you experienced sexual assault? Then see someone who is trained in dealing with sexual assault.  There are specific resources available from someone who specially trained.

The summit can get crowded when everyone is on board with the latest fad or following the latest “guru”. Be discerning. Rely on experts in your healing journey. What seems right for someone else may not seem right for you. Do your homework. Stay tuned . . .

What’s Next?

I recently finished binge watching “The West Wing”, a great show about a fictional Democratic President named Josiah “Jed” Bartlett and his White House staff. Martin Sheen plays the President, whose favorite quip is, “What’s next?” as his aids and staff present him with the days’ agenda and multiple presidential tasks.

As we round the corner into a new year and 2020 comes to a close, that’s the one question I have, “What’s next”? We recently had news of COVID vaccine distributions worldwide. In some places, the curve is beginning to flatten, though not in MyState. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that even though the vaccine will come into wider distribution in a few months, we still need to continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and frequently wash our hands until we develop ‘herd immunity’.

I hope some of these pandemic practices we have been using will become habit, especially during cold and flu seasons. Right now, I am wary of being too close to people and touching surfaces without disinfecting them first. I want to wear a mask when I am in a crowd – mainly for my own protection! I am quick to wash my hands more often.

We do not know what 2021 will bring regarding COVID other than greater vaccine distribution. How long will it be before we see a reduction in COVID cases and COVID deaths? Even though the vaccine has begun to filter into our society, we cannot expect for the virus to be gone overnight. We still need to be vigilant and wear our masks, maintain our distances, wash our hands and stay home when we are sick.

Perhaps what comes next is a greater awareness of those around us, a greater understanding of how viruses spread and a greater appreciation for our healthcare workers. Perhaps what comes next is a quicker personal response to mask wearing during times of seasonal viruses. Perhaps what comes next is a greater appreciation for those we love – our family and friends – because we have seen how quickly lives can be changed by COVID. Stay tuned . . . .

Christmas on a (COVID) Budget

2020 will be better thought of when we see it in the rear-view mirror. This year has been ____________ ( fill in the blank). Three hundred sixty five days is normally filled with changes, milestones, good times and bad times – that is a given. However, the past three hundred sixty five days under COVID have been like the Jason Bourne chase scenes on steroids! Good golly!

So many people have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. They have lost their jobs and livelihoods. This may be a dark Christmas for many who would rather not celebrate Christmas at all. I celebrate Christmas because it reminds me there is hope. The Christ Child came to a dark world to bring hope. That is something worth celebrating in the midst of this crazy year.

This may be a Christmas with very few gifts under the tree for some, if at all. Yet, because of the hope this holiday symbolizes, this can still be a subdued holiday. (Some ideas on this post come from https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/14/health/how-to-celebrate-christmas-on-a-budget-wellness/index.html)

Christmas decorations: This is a time to be creative. If you do not have Christmas decorations or the only ones you have are old, there are resources you can find to still decorate for the holiday. One of my favorites I recently read about is to find objects in your home of the same color. Make a grouping of the objects on a table or bookcase. Add a candle or two to the grouping. Make garlands out of stale popcorn (it works better than fresh popcorn for stringing) and bits of Christmas wrapping paper. Go outside and find some greens to use in your decoration, but be careful of any poisonous plants! Paint some Christmas scenes on rocks with your children and display them in a prominent place. Use your imagination and be creative!

Christmas goodies: One of the cheapest goodies is Rice Krispie treats. You can mold that stuff into any shape. Most grocery stores have brownie mix for cheap. Toss a few chocolate, peanut butter, mint or white chips in the brownie mix before you put it in the oven and you have an elegant treat. Grocery store meat counters will have bones from the meat they recently cut that you get for free or cheap. Bring the bones to a boil in a stockpot, remove them and toss in whatever beans, veggies, sausage (or cooked meat) or pasta you have on hand with a few spices and you will have a delicious ‘Christmas Soup’. Add some biscuits and you have a great meal! You could even make the ‘Christmas Soup’ a family tradition.

Christmas gifts: It is difficult when funds are low and you cannot purchase the Christmas gifts you would like to. Write letters or poems, make an acronym out of someone’s name, draw a picture, bag up some brownies, make a holiday phone call (put a limit on how long you will talk). Take the first step toward mending a broken relationship. Gifts are not always better when they are bigger or more sparkly or more expensive. Advertisers are wrong about that. Give gifts that are from who you are and that convey the value of your relationship with the recipient.

What will you remember about the 2020 holiday season? What do you want your children to remember about the 2020 holiday season? All the griping and groaning because of having to wear a mask, social distance and stay home? Let this holiday season be one where you reevaluate goals, relationships, finances, etc. Put 2020 and all its stuff behind you. Make a plan (budget, calendar, etc.) for 2021. Look forward to whatever the future brings. And thank God for Hope. Stay tuned . . . .

Lockdown Loneliness

I scanned past a headline earlier on a national news network’s website – “The Lockdown Has Created More Damage Then the Virus”. I have read several articles about how the nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns are damaging relationships and creating unspeakable, perhaps even fatal, loneliness for residents of nursing homes and care centers.

I do not have words of wisdom for this situation. I am not going through this pandemic alone. I have Cycle Dude to share this time with. I have told him many times how glad I am that I do have him beside me as we face this crazy pandemic.

If you have a loved on in a nursing home or care center, make sure you write them letters and send cards. Send flowers every once in a while for no reason at. If you have an elderly person in your life who is confined to their home because of age and vulnerability to COVID-19, write letters and cards to them as well. The written word does not need to be a novel. A small “thinking of you” card is always good. Granted, a card or letter does not take the place of human contact, but it will still let that person know they are thought of and cared for.

My mom is 83 and quite spry and independent for her age. She still drives. She writes a column for several newspapers around her community. She has published two books. She knows to take COVID precautions. She still enjoys a card or letter from her children. We all (five of us) send her texts with updates and photos of our families. My siblings and I are aware that, even though my mom has friends and neighbors to contact, she loves to hear from her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Take the time today to write a note or a card to someone in your family or neighborhood whom you know is confined to home or a care center during this pandemic. You will make their day and make the lockdown loneliness seem a little less severe. Thank you. Stay tuned. . . .

COVID Christmas

The holidays are usually about spending time with family and friends, traveling, vacationing and food, food, food! However, 2020 has been anything but usual. We all know that by now. We have seen recent surges in the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. It has been anything BUT a happy holiday time. So how do we get through the holidays this year? How do we keep our sanity in the midst of all the insanity that has come with COVID? We have to realize that this holiday season is far from the normal we are used to.

First of all, follow CDC guidelines: Wear a mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently and practice social distancing. These guidelines are not an assault on your personal freedoms! They are in place to protect you and others from getting the coronavirus. Feeling infringed upon? Read the headlines, listen to the news. The world is in the midst of a major health crisis. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Second, think outside the box: Okay, so this is an oft overused cliche, but it makes the point. Some ideas: Record a holiday greeting for your family and friends and post it on Facebook or send it to them personally (get creative – background music, costume, cookies). Send cards to our men and women in uniform serving overseas. Post a video of you making your favorite holiday treat -pretend you’re Julia Child! Write a holiday poem and send it with your holiday cards (it doesn’t have to be perfect or rhyme, cheesy is just fine!) Make some holiday masks and send to your friends and family – incorporate different seasonal trims and buttons.

Third, remember the Reason for the season: As a woman of faith, I know the season is about the birth of Jesus Christ. Each year, I ask God to fill my heart anew with the wonder of Christ’s birth. Many churches are doing online services. If you don’t have a home church, tune into one online. (Recommendations: https://prov.church/, https://ridgechurchonline.com/) If you are not a person of faith, take the time to reflect on the spirit of the season – giving. Give to your favorite charity. Charities are always looking for end-of-the-year donations, especially this year as they serve more people than they have in prior years.

There is no reason this has to be a “dark winter” as some have proposed it will be. If we all follow CDC guidelines, think outside the box and remember the Reason for the season or the spirit of the season, we can make this winter a little bit brighter for others and ourselves. Stay tuned . . .

How Do You Have Joy?

Joy, peace, happiness – all those “feel good” emotions were sadly lacking in my marriage. Anger, suspicion, and resentment were the emotions of the day – many days, in fact. How and where would I find joy if I could ever find it again? I love my children, but the endless days of negative emotions seemed to overshadow that love. I regret that.

Once I was divorced, single again and living on my own, I slowly began to find that joy. I began to grow in my faith. I realized that joy is not a fleeting emotion, but a gift from God. Joy is the slow steady current at the bottom of the creek bed. Joy is not the tumultuous waves beating against the shore or the chaos of the flooding river. I would venture to say joy is found in a relationship with Christ. However, not everyone is a Christ follower.

Where does that joy come from? Set aside some time to be alone with yourself. Turn off the phone, close the bedroom door or the patio door. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. If you are a Christ follower, recall a favorite verse and spend some time meditating on it, thinking about it, asking God to make it real in your heart. If you are not a Christ follower, meditate on a favorite quote, passage from a book or stanza of poetry or a piece of music. The idea is to clear your mind of all the negative emotions. If you cannot let go of all the negative emotions, try to let go of at least one.

As you sit there, concentrate on your breathing, your heartbeat. What do you hear? How does your body feel? Are you tense? Think about that muscle group that is tense and work on relaxing it. Stand up, bend forward from the waist and let your arms go limp. Slowly roll back up to a standing position. Take a deep breath as you lift your arms over your head. Exhale as you put your arms back down at your side. Now shake your arms, shake your head, shake it all for 60 seconds!!

Sit back down and be quiet. Can you find that slow steady current inside of you? You woke up this morning, you had breakfast, you started your day and maybe went to work. You may have had a crappy day at work, but you are still here. Joy is the gentle current in your heart that says, “In spite of it all, my life continues.” Be content in the moment.

Things will happen in life that we have no control over. That’s okay. You are only responsible for your life, not all the big things out in the world. Let go of those things for they will last but a short time in the grand scheme of life. Yes, things will happen to stir up those negative emotions, but do not let those emotions dwell in you! Go back to that verse, that passage, or that stanza. Meditate on how it makes you feel. Be grateful for the words, or the music, that wash over your soul and put you in the gentle current. Joy. Stay tuned. . . .

Making Sense Out of Chaos

I am not an engineer nor am I a math whiz – I leave those two titles to Cycle Dude. However, I am familiar with several laws of Physics. One of these is the Second law of Thermodynamics. In a nutshell, it states, “Over time, usable energy will eventually give way to unusable energy.” My paraphrase, “Systems start out orderly and devolve into chaos.”

That is how it seemed in my marriage. Things went from relatively orderly (early on) to total chaos (in less than two years). I ignored the red flags of chaos, hoping orderliness would once again rule the day. But that would go against the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I lived in chaos for almost 25 years. Sometimes it is easy to ignore the laws of the universe and hope you will not be affected by them. Fat chance. You are better off trying to make some sense of out of the chaos.

Chaos seems to be the overarching theme for 2020. Pandemic, presidential election, most active hurricane season in history – these have all created such utter chaos in the world that you just want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. We all know that is not practical. But how do we make sense out of all the chaos surrounding us?

Pandemic: I believe if we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is to be more socially responsible in a large healthcare crisis. A CDC report (Decreased Influenza Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, Australia, Chile and South Africa, 2020, September 18, 2020) states that influenza activity is currently low in the United States and globally. Has influenza been totally eradicated? No. Will it be during this pandemic? No. But flu cases are not off the charts like they usually are this time of year. I attribute it to mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing – three things we have been constantly reminded of during the pandemic.

Presidential Election: It is very easy to get sucked into the rhetoric spewing from one party or another. It is very easy to get drawn into an ideology that advocates narcissistic nihilism and undying loyalty to the absurd. This has been one of the most contentious presidential elections in our nation’s history. Get off the bandwagon and stand beside the road for a few minutes. Is it to our benefit to continue to endorse a nation so deeply divided? Does division rally the economy, or stop protests and violence, or flatten the curve on COVID-19 cases? No. We ought not stand as blue or red, but as a nation unified in healing that which ails us.

Active Hurricane Season: This year, Louisiana seems to have had a huge target painted on it for hurricanes. Just as we ought to stand as a nation unified against political and economic division, we also out to stand as a world united against climate change. The reason hurricanes are getting more frequent and stronger is that the oceans are warming. Hurricanes get their energy from warm water. Louisiana has been in the bull’s eye at least six times this season, with Hurricane Laura being the worst. How do we make sense of the climate change chaos that is partially responsible for such an active hurricane season? Be aware that this is the new norm. Take practical steps to reduce your carbon footprint (Google it.) Do your part to help combat global warming. Be aware of what you can do in your community.

As individuals, we are not asked to save the world, just to do our part where we are. Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay as far apart from others as possible. Advocate for unity and social justice. Buy local, walk when you can instead of driving, and use reusable bags for groceries, etc. Be a part of the solution for less chaos. Stay tuned. . .

Embrace the Unexpected

2020 has quite literally been turned upside down. A world-wide pandemic, a highly contentious election, a plummeting economy and more. When we rang in 2020 last January 1 at midnight, did we think for one moment that the new year would be like this? I now think, “Meh, it’s 2020. Anything can happen that doesn’t make sense.”

2020 does not have the corner on the market of the unexpected. Life in general is like that. When I married back in 1985, I never expected to get divorced almost 25 years later. As a freshman in college, I never expected to finish my degree almost 31 years later. The unexpected is as much a part of life as breathing, eating, and waking up in the morning. One cannot go through life and never be confronted by the unexpected.

What do we do with the unexpected? We can moan and groan and whine and cry about how life is not fair, about how the unexpected has caught us by surprise and totally messed up our lives. Or we can take a step back and look at where we are at.

The pandemic: Healthcare officials have told us over and over how to deal with this scourge – wear face masks, maintain at least a 6 foot distance from others, wash your hands and stay home from work if you are sick. Do not congregate in large groups. Limit your exposure to others. This advice may also stop the flu from being so rampant. The pandemic has taught the non-healthcare portion of the population how to deal better with a large public illness.

The election: Perhaps in one way, considering the candidates, we should have foreseen a crazy election. We should have expected this kind of election, given the last four years. However, throwing COVID into the mix just made it more crazy. I have friends who live by their TV and get so stressed and upset about the election. I have not turned on my TV once in this election cycle and I early voted yesterday. I am reading and streaming more. The election is there, but it is not my be all and my end all.

The economy: I know what it is like to not have a job when your bills are coming due. I do have a job at this time and I do not take it for granted. Cycle Dude and I still patronize our favorite restaurants even though we order carry-out. We still go to the same grocery store. We give to needs in our community to help our community. Now is not a time to hoard and be selfish. More now than ever, it is a time to be astute with your resources and to give when you can.

Life lessons happen every day. Are we aware of them when they happen? Do we learn from them or do we curse the air? Do we embrace chances to grow and to learn or do we run and hide? 2020 is a chance to grow and to learn. Will we look back and see ourselves with our head stuck in the sand? Will we see ourselves standing with others – red-faced, shouting, glaring, blaming others for our current misfortune? Or will we look back and see that even though 2020 was about as messed up as it comes, we learned something about ourselves and we emerged as better people. Think about it. Embrace the unexpected – grow and learn. Stay tuned. . . .

The Holidays During COVID

It has been over six months since COVID-19 started ravaging our country. People are COVID weary, the President is COVID cocky, and the media is COVID crazy. I get it. I, too, wish for a return to some semblance of normalcy. However, since that does not look like it is going to happen anytime soon, we just need to make the best of where we are at.

The holidays during COVID seem a bit depressing. No traveling, no big mall crowds, no huge family gatherings. I have been thinking about the holidays this year with my children and grandchildren and Cycle Dude and his children. Cycle Dude cannot travel out of our immediate area – it is a COVID restriction from his employer. If I went to see my children, Cycle Dude could not go with me. Both of Cycle Dude’s children have significant others and will be spending time with their families. It looks like this is not the year for Norman Rockwell holidays.

So what can you do to pass along the holiday spirit while observing CDC guidelines for not passing along COVID?

  1. Give to a favorite charity: Charities are looking for that last fund raising push of the year. Go online and donate. You may be short of cash if you have lost your job. Still, donate $5 to your favorite charity. Every little bit helps and you will feel good about giving.
  2. Be creative: What do you have around your house that you can use to make Thanksgiving decorations and Christmas ornaments and decorations? Bits of fabric? Chenille stems? Pine cones? Old photos? Grandma’s china? Make it a personal challenge to see what you can upcycle or recycle to make your home look festive.
  3. Give to an elderly neighbor: If you have an elderly neighbor who needs their leaves raked, lawn mowed, or any other outside yardwork done, volunteer to do it for them. Observing social distancing guidelines, contact your neighbor and ask what you can do for them in their yard. Doing yardwork keeps you away from the COVID vulnerable elderly neighbor, but it gives you a chance to give your time to help them.
  4. Hand write holiday cards: Instead of sending an email or posting on Facebook, purchase some holiday cards to send to your friends and family. Include a short note of festive greetings. You can also write out holiday cards to our men and women in the military who are stationed overseas at the holidays. Here are several sites to look up for sending holiday cards to our military personnel. https://www.operationwearehere.com/IdeasforSoldiersCardsLetters.html, https://www.usasoa.org/christmas-cards-for-our-deployed-troops, https://www.minted.com/lp/send-christmas-cards-to-soldiers
  5. Journal: Years from now, we will look back on 2020 and remember what? Take time over the holidays to journal. What are your thoughts about 2020, COVID, the election? This has been a very strange year and one well worth documenting! What lessons have your learned? Are you a COVID survivor? What is that like for you?
  6. Zoom: After all this working from home and participating in remote meetings, we should be Zoom pros by now. Arrange a Zoom Christmas party with friends and family. Share favorite holiday cookies and beverages. Let the little kids show other family members their favorite Christmas gift. Sing Christmas Carols over Zoom. No, it’s not the same as being there with one another, but you are still sharing family or friend time with each other.

I lost two good friends this year to cancer. That was incredibly sad. Yet, it shows me once again that life is so valuable and so short. We can choose to sit around during the holidays and mope, feel sorry for ourselves, etc. Or we can think outside the box. We can use our resources to give to others. I would love to hear from y’all about your 2020 holidays, how they were different and how you made them special. Stay tuned. . . .

Lessons Learned From a Garden

My interest in gardening began with wanting to spend more time out on my back patio. It can get pretty buggy in my back yard, so I looked for plants that were mosquito repellants. My garden began with mint, lemon balm, verbena and citronella. Then I decided I needed some color, so I got more plants and some flowers. Cycle Dude made me a two-tiered shelf to put the plants on and I purchased some beautiful pots.

I learned a great deal about the plants and how to care for them. I mistakenly killed a beautiful lavender plant by giving it too much water. Now I know. As I was sitting outside on my patio enjoying my garden a few evenings ago, I began to ponder what my garden has taught me.

  1. You cannot treat everyone the same: I learned that not all of my plants like lots of water. The citronella, rosemary, and lavender do not need to be watered as often as some of my other plants. To treat all the plants the same would be to eventually kill some of them by overwatering.
  2. Everyone has a purpose: The butterfly weed attracts butterflies. The lantana attracts bumble bees. The citronella repels mosquitos. The coneflower attracts bees. Each plant in my garden has a purpose. My trailing petunias are just there to look pretty! I appreciate the uniqueness of each plant and its role in my garden.
  3. Be kind and encouraging: This may sound silly, but I talk to my plants. Every morning. I go out in my garden and ask, “How are we doing today?” I acknowledge each plant and take time to trim, deadhead or water whomever needs it. I tell the plants how pretty they are and how they each make me happy. I enjoy the tranquility and peace I experience in my garden.
  4. Some people need more understanding: I have a small bird bath in my garden that I keep filled with water. Birds do not visit, but wasps do. I found out that if I provide a water source for the local wasps, they will not bother me while I am outside. Some people are afraid of wasps. I found that wasps just need more understanding. Once I provided the water source, the wasps became less of a threat.
  5. Color creates a tapestry: When I first started out, my garden was all green. I decided I needed more color and I got the lantana and some zinnias. I added more flowering plants and enjoyed the tapestry my garden had become. Part of the reason for such tranquility in my garden is the color and uniqueness of each plant.

Cycle Dude has decided he likes my garden, too. I have blogged before about my Tranquil Garden and how peaceful it is to sit out on the back patio. It was not always like that. When I first started dating Cycle Dude, the back patio was pretty barren. I decided this year I would make it somewhere peaceful and enjoyable to be. I asked for patio furniture for my birthday and it has made such a difference. The back patio is now one of our happy places.

I am grateful when I spend time in my garden, whether it is cleaning away leaves and other debris, caring for the plants or just sitting at the table, enjoying a meal or a cool evening. I am grateful for what I have learned from my garden. Stay tuned . . .

The Rule of Awkward Silence

Justin Bariso recently wrote an article for Inc. magazine, the periodical that claims to be, “. . . advice, support, tools, strategies, real stories, and real business examples. ” I usually do not read articles like this because I am not particularly interested in all things business. However, this article popped up on the screen and I was going to Amazon to buy a pair of shoes.

The tagline caught my eye: “Intelligent Minds like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos Embrace the Rule of Awkward Silence. You Should Too”. I thought, “Hmm. I consider myself relatively intelligent, but there’s always room for improvement.”

The author explains that the Rule of Awkward Silence is basically “think before you speak”. Cook and Bezos, who run Apple and Amazon respectively, employ this rule frequently. When confronted with an angry boss, a reporter’s microphone, or a room full of people who want an answer ‘right now’, we pause and do not give the anticipated instant answer. Pausing before answering a question gives us much needed time to “think things through before responding”, Bariso states. At times, we do not need to be able to ‘think on our feet’, we need to be able to give an intelligent, well thought out answer.

Bariso comments that taking the time to think about that answer, hence the ‘awkward silence’, often makes people uncomfortable. We are not only a society of instant gratification, but also a society of noise and movement. If you are a parent, you know that a child’s silence often means they are getting into trouble. A lack of movement is often perceived as laziness, or that one is not ambitious. Silence is uncomfortable to those who believe every minute should to be filled with conversation.

The awkward silence can also apply to text and email messages. Take a moment to think and do not be so quick to press ‘reply’ or shoot back that text message. Our days tend to move at lightening speed, even in this pandemic. It is essential we take the time for critical or ‘right-think’, as Bariso calls it. He also says that to “embrace the rule of awkward silence is to take back time”. Time is not wasted on ‘nonsense answers’.

Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even a fool, when he is silent, is considered wise.” Bariso includes several advantages of observing the rule of awkward silence. You can read those for yourself: https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/intelligent-minds-like-tim-cook-jeff-bezos-embrace-rule-of-awkward-silence-you-should-too.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab

I am going to work more on employing the rule of awkward silence because I believe I answer questions too quickly and without thinking just to get the questioner off my back. Bad practice. I would rather be perceived as wise instead of foolish. Stay tuned . . . .