Silent, concentrated thought is more potent than spoken words, for speech distracts from the focusing power of the mind by drawing more and more attention to the without.
There is no power so potent as the silent, reserved power. So keep your own counsel, and do not scatter and weaken your force by talking about it to others - far less by boasting about it.
The secret of great people is their belief in themselves and in their inherent power, in their faculty to concentrate on the work in hand, when they are working, and in their ability to prevent leaks of power when they are not working. They believe in themselves, and make every effort count. Your village wise man spills his wisdom on every corner, and talks to a lot of fools; when if he really were wise he would save up his wisdom and place it where it would do some work. The brilliant writer does not waste his wit upon every corner; in fact, he shuts the drawer in which he contains his wit, and opens it only when he is ready to concentrate and get down to business. The captain of industry has no desire to impress you with his shrewdness and “smartness. He never did, even when he was young. While his companions were talking and boasting, and “blowing,” this future successful financier was “sawin’ wood and sayin’ nuthin’.”
Give your best to each thing you do, knowing that plenty of more good things are in you ready for the fresh tasks that will come. Put the best of yourself into the undertaking on hand, and do not cheat the present task in favor of some future one. Your supply is inexhaustible. And don’t waste your good stuff on the crowd of gapers, watchers and critics who are standing around watching you work. Save your good stuff for your job, and don’t be in too much of a hurry for applause. Save up your good thoughts for “copy” if you are a writer; save up your bright schemes for actual practice, if you are a business man; save up your wisdom for occasion, if you are a statesman; and, in each case, avoid the desire to scatter your pearls before - well, before the gaping crowd that wants to be entertained by a “free show.”
In order to speak wisely you must secure at least a partial concentration of the faculties and forces upon the subject at hand. Speech interferes with the focusing powers of the mind, as it withdraws the attention to the external. You need to take time to think and not answer too quickly. It is necessary to be silent before you can speak wisely.
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