The quietest place on earth is reputedly an echo-free chamber in Minnesota, USA. It absorbs 99.99% of sound. It is said that in the chamber one can hear your lungs breathing, you blood flowing through your veins and even you stomach digesting. I am not sure any of that is of any comfort but there you have it!
In the future there will be room for consultants whose focus and expertise will be to help people engage, embrace and learn from being quiet. They will help ‘unplug’ people from a world and reality that sees us increasingly plugged-in. They will be valuable guides in a journey to the ‘other side of silence’ and the benefits of exploring such terrain.
Silence in a noisy world is essential in the same way that silence is always part of great music; great art and a great life. For many leaders silence is a precious but all too rare commodity. Leading is noisy. It is busy. It is loud. But, good leadership requires less noise, less activity and a measure of silence. Most of contemporary life is a studied attempt to avoid ever being alone and silence becomes our gateway to exploring the reality of our inner world. It is a gift.
In silence leaders are able to confront their fears and insecurities. Silence affords leaders the opportunity to grapple with the building blocks that develop authenticity. Silence serves as a mirror that smart leaders recognise as essential to leading through the maze that is 21stCentury leadership. Silence allows the competing external voices of demand to subside and truer inner voices to be heard. Life has a way of constantly shuffling our priorities and for leaders to bring a sense of order and harmony into their leadership practice and to find meaning in all of it, requires redeeming time to reflect and engage in quietness.
As a leader, an important question is, ‘how can you learn the value and use of silence?