Too Many Words

November 5, 2012

@work

“If A equals success, then the formula is
A= X+Y+Z,  with X being work, Y play, and
Z keeping your mouth shut.” 

Albert Einstein

Growing up my mom woke up at least 30 minutes before I did.

This meant I was rolling out of bed about the time mom’s first coffee jolt was kicking in.  She approached our morning “chats” like a dog with a bone, utterly determined to dig up all the information she needed for the day.  The “exploration” went something like this…

Who’s picking you up for school today? Do you have any tests? Is that a new outfit? Did you ask your sister if you could wear her sweater? Did you remember to feed the dog/cat/horse? What did you and Lisa do last night? Are you going out this week? (SHALLOW BREATH) How was that history test? Are you sure you’re passing Biology? Have you noticed the car is making a funny noise? Who is Mark dating these days…..

My answers were usually monosyllabic grunts until I’d wave my hands in front of me and say, “Enough!  Too Many Words!!”  Then I’d stomp away from her like every teenager since time eternal.

My poor mother.

Although I don’t stomp off any more , I wish I could say my propensity for popping off when annoyed was erased.  I’m still a pretty miserable morning person.  However, even when I’m fully caffeinated and I have a few hours of consciousness under my belt, many days I’m challenged to keep my mouth shut.  I feel compelled to speak my opinions, to do the grownup version of “popping off,” and to convince you of my perspective.

Where does that come from? Why do I behave that way?

Nature? Nurture? Arrogance? Habit? Culture? Yes. No. Maybe. Yes. I suppose.  Why is the booby prize.

My goal isn’t to figure out why, but to focus on what’s next.  This is what I know to be true:

Influence happens in relationships.
The foundation of relationships is listening.
If I want strong relationships, I must develop the habit of  being slow to speak and quick to listen.

I don’t know what the week has in store, but if I can make progress in just this area, maybe I’ll nail at least part of Einstein’s formula!

How well do you control your tongue?

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