Silence Can Make You Golden

Lynn Seth, Performance Coach, Human Performance Institute

Get ahead of your competition by simply taking a moment to stop and think. This fundamental action, thinking, may give you the competitive edge that you desire. Many leaders fail to use their intellectual horsepower because they are constantly in meetings and returning emails instead of thinking.

Harvard Business Review columnist Peter Bergman notes that when we are thinking, we learn and make space for personal growth. Bergman contends that our society is addicted to being productive. In essence, our society is in a state of manic productivity in which thinking, and consequently learning, are casualties.

Many, including Bergman, feel the answer to managing manic productivity is through embracing the silence that can come from quiet time. Constant productivity is so intertwined in our lives that people often require deliberate actions, rituals, that force them to slow down.

Consider a new 90-Day Training Mission that will build your mental energy bank by establishing a consistent quiet time. Join organizations, such as Intel, who have implemented Quiet Time at work. Intel results indicate that quiet time improved participant effectiveness, efficiency and quality of life.

How can you make quiet time work for you?

  • Commit to a Time: When can you give your full attention to your quiet time? Block this time on your calendar and handle it as a priority meeting.
  • Stop "Doing": This is not the time to tackle emails, complete reports or return calls. It is your time to be still and think.
  • Turn Off the Noise: John Cage composed his famous 4’33”, a score which instructs performers to not play throughout the piece. Cage asserted that in silence we can hear new and different things. Consider the new things you could hear, within yourself, if you were silent, still and focused.


Bregman, Peter: What To Do When You Have No Time to Think, Harvard Business Review: HBR Blog Network; June 8, 2011 Stone, Linda: Quiet Time at Intel, Bloomberg BusinessWeek; July 2003