The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Many of us are familiar with the quote above and have either been threatened with dire consequences if we do not heed those words; or, been encouraged to stay the course, despite the difficulties; “put the pedal to the wheel” and get things done! Those words have the ability to motivate persons to heights unimagined and do insurmountably above and beyond anything we expected ourselves to accomplish.
However, I now also think about the importance of working in silence. There is a YouTube channel that I happened upon recently with videos of a famous Chinese food video blogger, Li Zikai. In all the videos she does everything quietly, she cooks some really interesting meals, quietly, and seems to enjoy everything around her, quietly. Yet somehow she has over two million subscribers and she, along with those videos are very popular in her country.
Now for myself and other English speakers only, this is not a not a bad thing, because I would not be able to understand her if she decided to have a running commentary for the videos. Yet still there is a transmission of her pleasure in her efforts and there is a measure of accomplishment that is not lost in translation at the end of every meal that is prepared and subsequently devoured.
Her videos highlighted for me the relevance of silence in any attempt at achieving any measure of success. In our society today, we believe that it is the person who is the loudest, who can get the publicity -good or bad- who can succeed. We are overstimulated to the point where we become confused about our purpose.
But there is worth in being silent and pursuing our goals without being caught up in the noise around us. It’s good to have the support of people whose opinion you value, however, when too many cooks get into your kitchen, you need to know to let them go. Let them cheer you but not try to control your actions and decisions.
It’s tempting to always seek validation from others. We just did something great and we may think we need the, “well done” and “high fives”. “Do you see how hard I am working here?” However, sometimes its necessary to let your success speak for itself. If we are truly secure with what we have done then there will be no need to complain and gripe about the way things are done by others, because we will be confident and content with our efforts.
Silence is Golden
We look around and see others frantically getting things done (it seems they do, but who knows what is happening behind the scenes), but that should not impact our action. It is up to each of us to work smart; what this means for some people is to do the bear minimum, while getting the rewards. But that does not usually last; ultimately there is a reckoning. Many want to be successfully but most do not know or are unwilling to do what it takes to achieve success. The best way to achieve success, is not to go looking for it.
I am sure at this point you are wondering where this is going…
Instead of carrying out an expedition to find success how about this. We can all be successful by doing what we love, believing in our abilities and working hard at it. There is no need to be in the spotlight, showing your blood, sweat and tears to be a success. While everyone is busy being noisy, quietly work and collect your reward!