Strategic Silence

Yesterday has me reflecting on the importance of silence. First I was verbally thrashed by a co-worker for my friendly 4am banter which he took personally. Then a few hours later a shelter resident publicly berated me for failing to explain our towel policy. Both incidences were self-inflicted because I didn't keep my mouth shut.

I'm usually concerned with saying the right thing. To be congenial and soft spoken. But in a workplace where tensions are high, every word is a step in a minefield. It's better to be strategically silent.

Miles Davis was a master of strategic silence. He's known for pithy sayings like “I always listen to what I can leave out” and “if you don't know what to play, play nothing”.

Listen to Miles and you'll notice, if you haven't already, how judicious he was with the trumpet. It's an approach he adopted near the beginning of his career while playing with Jazz legends Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Miles couldn't keep up with Bird and Dizzy's fast-tempoed solos so he (re)invented his style. Instead of trying harder, he was sparse. His musical statements became pithy like his quotes, but he was more apt to let others talk then punctuate at the right moment.

It was the beginning of the iconic Miles Davis we know, and the style that made Kind of Blue possible.

Meditation Time bookstanding today: 40 Quality of meditation (out of 10): 6

Practice Minutes on the keyboard today (out of 40): 20 minutes Quality of practice (out of 10): 6

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