“A seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with a huge noise. Destruction has noise but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence. Grow Silently,” Confucius. As we take steps to define what we want, we often mistake the apparent inaction of our efforts as no progress. We stop before we nurture what is already in motion. I’ve spoken candidly quite often about my impatience and all of the ventures I started but never saw through. When I didn’t see results on my timeline, I panicked. I would stop all efforts because I didn’t look for the solutions to move forward. And quite frankly, I wasn’t patient enough to let what I started grow into something.
Change isn’t like a light switch where we turn off who we were and turn on who we are trying to be. Humans are complex creatures bogged with emotions and thoughts and a nervous system that rapidly calculates the chance of failure in a world that changes even faster. All of those things take time to unlearn and to rewire into a new way of thinking. When we make the conscious decision to change, there are millions of synapses wired to move in a certain direction. Think about the old carts on the dirt roads: you walk the same path every day and eventually the cart gets stuck in the grooves it created. It takes a lot of effort to move it onto a new path. Our minds are the same.
We are also creatures of comparison and we look at what other people are doing all the time. Our lives are lived on the internet, sharing the highlights, creating a false sense of progress or even superiority in other people. We announce what we are doing all the time so we don’t give ourselves the chance to let things become what they really are before we share them. If our end result looks different than someone else’s we get down on ourselves and think our lives aren’t good enough. The truth is, no one is really watching that carefully. We make snap decisions, and in some cases that is good because as quickly as we make a bad choice, we can make a new one. And bottom line, no one really tells the truth 100% of the time so do your work and let the rest go.
There is so much power in silence. When we grow to show people we are growing, it loses it’s value. We dilute the work because we’ve made it a performance. Now, if you’re growing to help others on their way that is a different story. Becoming who we are meant to be is painful. The shedding of a lifetime we created can be terrifying and scary because we no longer have the security of who we thought we were. We open up the possibility for a new reaction because we can ask ourselves why we felt the need to react that way in the first place.
Beautiful things take time to bud. Growth is messy and it is painful, but it is still beautiful. It’s the perfecting of who we are and stepping into a new life. It’s the releasing of preconceived notions and long-held beliefs in place of what we really want. It’s getting in touch with our intuition and giving that little voice the opportunity to say what it needs to—and heeding it. None of that work is loud or showy—it is quiet and personal. So if things are quiet or if you’re not seeing the results you want after starting the work, just be patient. Allow. Trust that the work you can’t see is more powerful than what anyone else is displaying. Your work is real. It is authentic. It is lasting. Let it grow.