Talk less… Do more…

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are all familiar with the old saying “actions speak louder than words” and I am certain we all know people that are consistent in saying one thing, and then doing another. Without a doubt we have all been guilty in doing this ourselves at times because it can be challenging to live a life of 100% alignment and consistency with our stated words and values.

Why do we say anything at all? Why do we create a disconnect between our words and our actions? Is it because we are desperate to be heard? Is it because words are so very easy to say and we believe by simply saying them we might have done enough?

As I write this I keep hearing the line from “Hamilton” when Aaron Burr advises Alexander Hamilton to; “Talk less… Smile more… Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for…” What if we flipped this and lived by a credo that said “Talk less… Do more… Let your actions show what you’re against and what you’re for…”

This isn’t new perspective by any means. James wrote about the need to let your works be the representation of your faith in one of my favorite books of the bible. ‘What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’ James 2:14-17

If you choose to put the effort and energy into your actions instead of your words, then you won’t have to worry about your the things you do overpowering the things you say…

What are my values?

“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

There is so much wisdom in this quote. Each sentence can and should be unpacked and thought through with great care and intention. To turn this into action begin with the last sentence and work through this question:

What are my values?

Once you have captured these clearly then you can attack the sentences in order but always through the lens of your values.

Are my thoughts reflective of my values?

Are my words reflective of my values?

Are my actions reflective of my values?

Are my habits reflective of my values?

Are my values reflective of the legacy I want to leave?

To live a life of authenticity one must start with the values and build everything up from that. Otherwise life is happenstance and accidental. Which is no way to live.

Turn the other cheek…

“Never regret being a good person, to the wrong people. Your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.”

Author Unknown

Do you value self over others or do you put the needs of others over self? If you are the former then you are a person who won’t regret being a good person, even if it hurts your own interests on occasion.

I am reminded of this verse from the book of Matthew.

“‘But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.‘” Matthew 5:38-40,42-43

I would argue that that an occasional “setback” because you are true to yourself, and your values, is well worth it. I would far rather be known as a person that is consistently good, even to those who would do me harm, than a person who is seeking to put myself above others…

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