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Issue 267 - The Value of Quiet

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 267
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



One of Coach Wooden’s favorite quotes was: It is very hard to keep quiet when you do not have anything to say. The value of quiet applies to being in a group setting as well as being alone.
Some research suggests that half of people are naturally extroverted and half are naturally introverted. I was asked recently if Coach Wooden was an introvert or an extrovert. I replied I don’t know. In retrospect, I think I came to that conclusion because Coach was able to balance the two.
I never heard Coach interrupt anybody when they were speaking or inject himself into a conversation just to hear himself talk. At the same time, he was an eloquent and enthusiastic participant in any discussion if he felt he had something to contribute. Coach was also quite willing to say I don’t know if it was appropriate. He never displayed a need to appear to knowledgeable. This went hand in hand with his habit of listening to learn, as opposed to listening to talk next.
In today’s fast moving society, there is a bit of an emphasis on being extroverted and collaborating. These are both good things, but creativity and good leadership are often a result of private reflection preceding the extroversion and collaboration. It’s good to have a balance.
Coach Wooden, like so many great leaders and thinkers, made time each day for private reflection. His daily habit of reading the Bible, making time for prayer and his five mile walk with no headphones were some of the ways he did this. His mentor, Abraham Lincoln, sat quietly in a darkened room in the White House for a period of time each day to collect his thoughts.
If you have a busy schedule you can try driving sometimes without the radio on to gain some quiet space.
My mother had a rule that if there was more than one person in the car, we were not allowed to have the radio on. She felt: Two intelligent people should be able to carry on a conversation. When I have tried this myself on family drives, I have always been pleasantly surprised with outcome. A cautionary note if you try this: Don’t be afraid of the silence and don’t give in too quickly if somebody asks you to turn the radio on.
I believe it is going to be an important challenge to teach our youth that they don’t always have to be looking at a screen or have a headset on. Example is a great teacher.
When was the last time you enjoyed quiet or enjoyed sharing quiet with someone else?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise



The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow






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