Close to the Vest

It is better to act on your convictions than to voice your opinions.

I recently read someone saying that it’s important to teach your children how to keep a few opinions to themselves, because there will be some views that society will punish them for having even if they aren’t incorrect. That might be true, but I think the lesson is backwards.

For the most part, I think the correct lesson is to, by default, voice none of your opinions. You’ll make plenty of exceptions (heck, I write a daily blog that’s pretty much just my opinions on stuff), but make those exceptions deliberate. Choose each opinion you want to share, and when to share it, carefully.

That isn’t the same as saying “don’t HAVE opinions.” Consider the world, chew it up in your brain, and form opinions great and small. Be open to changing them, but be prepared to act with conviction on the ones that you think are most correct and most beneficial. But that’s not the same as just spouting off all the time.

Working is greater than talking. If you have a view that you think improves the world, go work to make it happen. If you have an opinion about how to live a better life, live your life that way. That doesn’t mean you have to share everything you think with everyone.

I post at least one opinion a day on here, but believe me it pales in comparison to what I don’t share. I don’t have specific reasons not to share those other opinions – remember, my default is not to share. But I make it a point to make an exception a day, and I choose those exceptions based on which things I feel will provoke positive thought, encourage or help people, or even amuse and delight. I aim to bring value and raise the bar of discourse. If my opinion doesn’t seem to have at least the possibility of doing that, I don’t share it.

That doesn’t mean the views I don’t share are all dark and inflammatory or anything. It just might mean they’re not relevant. I have strong opinions on Mex-American Fusion Fast-Serve Restaurant Chains! You probably don’t care, and nor should you.

Be deliberate with your words; they carry more power that way. For all the other opinions you have, just build your own life out of them. If that life turns out well, people will ask.

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