Thursday, August 16, 2007


I'm a “get to the point” kind of person.

I try not to use a paragraph when a sentence will do, and I’ve never bought into the idea that the ability to pontificate on a given subject indicates intelligence. I often find myself wishing that people to whom I’m listening would stop beating around the bush and just say what they need to say.

This week I ran across a quote from Sophocles: “Much wisdom often goes with brevity of speech.” It brought to mind the political campaigning that’s already begun, and I had to laugh because if Sophocles is right, I’m not sure we have many wise candidates.

Anyway, Sophocles isn’t the only famous thinker who found less to be more where words are concerned. In Ecclesiastes 6:11, King Solomon said, “The more words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” I get so frustrated when I have listened to someone talk for half an hour, and still have no idea what he or she actually said. Or worse, when the point is made in the first 5 minutes, but I have to keep sitting there as the person rambles on, rephrasing the message and adding trivial details. (Again, politics come to mind.)

Don’t get me wrong – if truly important or interesting information is being conveyed, I want every single detail. And I will talk for hours if the conversation is helping to build a relationship, encouraging someone, or developing knowledge or insight into my or someone else’s relationship with God. But otherwise, I’d just prefer to keep quiet.

Both Sophocles and King Solomon are renowned as two of the wisest men who ever lived. You know how I think they got that way? By taking their own advice and spending less time talking and more time listening and reflecting. They probably didn't talk much, but when they did, you can bet they really had something to say.

No comments: