What I said to Jack Johnson.
This is a picture of me and Jack Johnson.
For all my international readers he's a massive musician on the cover of Rolling Stones magazine right now. (Very cool that someone in Brunei is reading the site by the way.)
I interviewed him once for a magazine and in case you are wondering, his head is massive. It's like a boogie board. Anyway, after the show I asked him a few questions. I then asked him if he would sign something for my friend Nicole. He said, "Sure what do you want me to write?" I said, "Say, Nicole, please marry me." Without a pause, he responded, "Dude I can't do that, I'm married."
The entire backstage crowd went quiet and everyone kind of looked at me like I was an idiot. And they were right, I was. I should have looked that up. I should have known that going in, but I got rambling with him and just couldn't stop myself so I stuck my foot in my mouth.
I do that a lot. It's kind of come to my attention that I talk too much. I ramble and tend to turn on a firehose of words when someone just asks for a cup of water. It's a problem.
There are really three ways I am trying to work on this issue, this non-stop running of my massive mouth:
1. Ask more and expect more questions.
I think a good measure of whether you talk to much is if people ever ask you questions. They never ask me questions because I don't give them the chance. I tell them the answer before they even get a chance to ask. "I like Frisbie. My favorite state is North Carolina. My watch is big." I also realize that I don't tend to ask people many questions because I want to just talk about me. So my new plan is to see how many questions I can ask someone, in a real honest curious way, and how many they'll ask me. They might ask me zero, but at least by being quieter, they'll have the space to ask one if they want to.
2. Few and true.
The bible is full of verses about how it's better to have control over your tongue. So it's not just me being rude when I ramble, it's actually me sometimes going against scripture. My new prayer is that God would help make my words, "few and true." It doesn't always work, but at least I've engaged the creator of the universe in this mission.
3. Picture it the right way.
A married friend of mine once said that he felt bad for ignoring a woman he was attracted to at work because she thought he was rude for not talking a lot to her. She had never said this, this was just what he assumed. What he was really thinking was, "This poor lady is being deprived of my wisdom when I don't talk to her." Sometimes, like in my case, talking a lot is just a verbal form of narcissism. The world doesn't always need to know your opinion. It will spin just fine without it. Now, when I start to feel bad about being quiet, because people need my awesome words, I think of it like God placing his big, strong hand over my mouth. I'm a hostage and I'm about to scream out and alert my kidnappers, or at the bare minimum ask Jack Johnson to damage his marriage, and his hand is not preventing me from talking, it's rescuing me from danger.
Maybe you don't talk a lot. Maybe you're issue is that you need to talk more. But for me, there's a sweetness to the silence, there's a small delight to the discipline of listening and at the end of the day ... well, I think I've said enough already.
This blog goes well with:
1. I need to shut up more often.