Voices and Echoes

A man listening to an echo of a voice
Reading time: 9 minutes

I like silence. I like a good conversation as well, but if I had to choose, talking is out the door. Talking isn’t really necessary for a good conversation anyway. “Silence is pure. it draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking.” No idea who said that, but I like it.

Being silent is a work of art, a sign that someone is at peace with himself. There’s a widely adopted stigma that believes silent people are stupid, shy, awkward, anti-social, but don’t be fooled. Most silent people I’ve met are wiser than their talking fellow humans. It’s just that they choose the blissfulness of silence over meaningless words.

Most words are worthless. It’s just talking for the sake of avoiding the silence. That awkward silence that can arise in a conversation, when you don’t know what to say. But, that silence is only an indicator that you are out of touch and are looking for words to forget being out of touch. If you would be in touch with yourself, silence would never be awkward.

Most words aren’t just worthless, they are poisonous. Gossip, negative self-talk, doubt, the news, it’s all poison. Just for a day, replace these words with silence and watch your life transform. If you have to talk, think about what Buddha said: “Open your mouth only if that what you are going to say is more beautiful than the silence”. Must have been one wise fella.

Talk less, say more

I think of words as currency. The more you talk, the lower the value will be. Words of wisdom, spoken with care and only when needed, are a scarcity that’s precious. Pick any Hollywood movie. The shot-callers talk as little as possible and the losers just keep on rambling. The Godfather hardly talked, and if he did you had to focus because he was hard to understand, but everyone paid attention.

The paradox of the lower value of talking a lot is that because it’s so low in value, you have to talk even more. But, because talking a lot keeps decreasing in value, you have to talk even more. Some sort of hyperinflation if you will. It’s like going to the bakery for a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of money. If you ever feel like you need to talk more and louder to get the attention, just shut up. Again, silence will transform your life.

The more you talk, the harder it is to be the center of attention. People will only listen for a moment, hoping you will shut up. It’s like paying a street artist to stop playing. It’s like air, nobody cares or pays attention to it, because it’s always there. People take air for granted. This is the reason why a lot of people suck at breathing (no pun intended). If air would become scarce, people would be masters in breathing by the end of the day.

If you would speak words of wisdom you wouldn’t talk much. Something with value is treated with care. Even as a kid, you would only show your treasures to your best friend, but only if he was fully aware. Same with words of wisdom; they are only shared with people who are really aware of what you are saying.

By now, it might dawn upon you that once again I’m promoting silence and awareness, but, I mean to do the exact opposite. I want you to find your unique voice and share it with the world. Your voice that gets attention with ease. Your inner wisdom, your talent, your message, that will add value to the world and invites to be shared.

The voice

Your voice is your authentic superpower. The thing that sets you apart from the rest. The thing that only you can do in your way. Your voice makes you unique. A voice takes effort, it takes practice, it takes skill. It takes knowing yourself and knowing what your values are.

If you use your voice and go through your messages and find them very inconsistent than you don’t really know who you are. You’re not really a voice, you’re a noise. A noise just makes noise for the sake of attention. There’s already enough noise. It’s hard enough already for a voice to get above the noise. If you don’t know your voice, silence is your friend.

Being a voice takes balls. It takes enough spirit to say something that might make people question if they are still down with you. It might make people think you’ve lost your mind, or that you are completely disconnected from yourself. A voice can be misunderstood and can mean the end of your world as you know it. Your voice is your craziness that you always suppress. The thing you love to do but are too ashamed of to share with the world. 

A voice is a creator, a maker, an originalist. A voice stands on its own. It makes people question what’s going on, if their boat is still on course, or if the sails need adjustment. A voice is innovation and disruption.

A voice is a message, a concept, an idea put into practice. A voice is a gift, a form of art, an expression. An expression that oozes passion and authenticity. So many people go through life without ever being artistic and that’s a shame. Maybe you’re not a musician, a writer, or a painter. But go beyond the stereotypical artistry. Maybe you are an artist in programming, or maybe you can bake the best chocolate chip cookies, or knit fantastic socks. Whatever it is, share it with the world. Find your voice and speak up. 

The echo

An echo is just a forward for a voice. Being an echo is easy, it’s safe. You’re just a messenger, a doorway for the voice. A messenger never gets shot. If things get too heated you can just pull back and say you misunderstood the voice. A voice creates a solution, an echo spreads the word.

Being an echo takes zero effort. Pre-internet age it took a bit more work. You had to listen and tell the story again in your own words, just to spread the message. You became a bit of a voice. But, nowadays being an echo is as easy as pressing repost. You don’t even have to hear the full voice. You just repost because the voice works for the image you try to portray on the interwebs. You can build a complete identity out of echoes. But who wants an identity build out of other peoples voices?

Echoes have their place. they can spread a message worldwide. Without an echo, a voice would not have much impact. It’s like a tree falling in the woods. If nobody heard it, did it really happen? The idea of being an echo is much more appealing than being a voice. Everybody wants to be famous and go viral. Everybody wants to be the center of attention, and the easiest way is to echo a voice that’s already proven to be successful.

Being an echo might be interesting, it’s safe and easy, but it’s not something that adds value for yourself in the long run. Echoes always depend on a voice. Without a voice, there isn’t an echo. Some echoes only echo the safe stuff, the meaningless things. Maybe they try to spread joy by posting a funny cat video, but this echo is the lowest form of communication. It takes nothing. It’s just one click and the backlash you can get for reposting is nada, zip, nothing. Nobody is going to break your balls about it, but then again, nobody is being provoked to challenge their own behavior.

Some echoes are voices in the making. By being an echo they get a feel for what their voice is. By being an echo they can experience what it means to be a voice. It’s like riding your bike with the safety wheels still on. It’s like getting your feet wet before you jump in.

There is nothing wrong with being an echo, we need you to spread the message. But, there’s more to you, you have a voice as well. A voice that deserves to be echoed. But, if you’re not talking, we can’t hear you. It would be a shame if you took that beautiful voice into the grave without a scratch on it, right?

Create something, and publish it

Fact is, finding your voice isn’t the problem. You probably already know what your voice is. The problem is putting your work out there. The problem is what other people will think of you. The problem is that if you publish today, chances are people will look at you funny tonight in the gym. “Who do you think you are?” is what they will ask you. And that my friend, is exactly the only question that matters. The only thing that matters is who you think you are and what you think your unique voice is. What other people think about it doesn’t concern you. Even if no one likes it, keep publishing.

So, start something, create something, do something. Create it, and publish it. There is no reason not to. Making music and publishing it was expensive, but nowadays it’s free. Making a movie and publishing it was even more expensive. Bam, 2018, also free. Creating a blog literally takes three minutes. Taking a photo and publishing it is as easy as one-two-three. The options are endless and the time and energy to set up shop are practically zero. So, use your voice and create something unique.

FEAR: False evidence appearing real

Chances are you got excited when you’ve read to here, but you still won’t pull the trigger. Why? I tell you why; Fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. Your heart is saying yes! but your mind is saying no, this is dangerous. Your mind is telling you to put those ambitions back in the vault because this won’t end well. And so you do. Your mind is telling you to keep the things exactly as they are because that’s familiar and safe. Your ego stepped in and told your heart to back off and told the mind to keep calm and carry on.

But here’s the trick: if you’re not scared you shouldn’t publish it. If it doesn’t scare you then it’s not authentic enough. It’s not art, it’s just a product. You have to put your heart and soul in it and doing that is scary business, it’s where you are most vulnerable. It’s your craziness, the thing you always keep deep down. It’s your inner child that is screaming from the top of his lungs to get out.

Every time I finish an article and I feel completely comfortable with it I won’t post it. It’s not real enough. If it’s not tingling my soul it’s worthless. But, whenever I feel a little voice in me saying “Oh, shit, I’m not sure if you should post this, things could get awkward”, I know I have to post. I post because I know it’s authentic because it comes from a place of realness. I know if I post the fear becomes smaller and I grow as a person.

I talk about stuff I’m not qualified to talk about. When you read my stuff you might think I have it all figured out, but I don’t. I just figure things out along the way and every now and then I have an ‘AHA’ moment that I want to share with the world. My writings are for the few and not the many. I could write for the many, but that would mean I would have to water down what I write and put the authenticity back in the closet, and I don’t want that. I want to write and publish what makes me feel scared to press publish. If you would ask me my opinion again in a year on an article I wrote my views might be way different, but this doesn’t stop me from posting it now.

I am a forever changing and developing being, and so are you. So, share what you are today and don’t wait until you’re good enough according to some strange measure. Publish now. When I listen to my first music release it sounds embarrassing, but I wouldn’t be able to make the standard of music I make today if I didn’t start publishing seven years ago. My hopes are that in five years time my writings are so good that what I wrote today is laughable. Everything is just practice leading up the mastery someday. Nobody became a master at something without practice.

So, in my writings, I try to be a voice. In the end, everything I write is just a remix of things I’ve picked up along the way that inspired me, and are important enough for me to recreate in original content. The goal of my writings is not to spread the truth or to be Mr know it all. The goal isn’t to reach as many people as possible or to go viral, I don’t care about this. The goal is really simple; In my writings, I try to be a voice that shines a light on subjects that, in my opinion, matter and need attention. Subjects I struggle with myself.

I don’t try to change peoples mind. I simply try to be a spark that can light your fire. I try to be a pebble in the water. Just a tiny pebble that makes the water ripple. I know the ripple is just a momentary, tiny thing in the ocean, but maybe, just maybe, someone is watching when the pebble hits the water. And maybe, just maybe, this someone is inspired to be a bit more aware of what he does, why he does it and if he should be doing something else. This might seem complete nonsense for someone else, but for me, it’s my voice and I publish it, and I think that whatever your voice is, you should publish as well.

Also, publishing your own voice gives you a guide for yourself. I never intended to write about the things I write about. But, looking back at all my writings, I can tell there is a common theme in them and in this theme is my voice. So, by publishing, I know what makes me tick and I found out what my purpose is. If I had never published, this would all still be in the mess that’s in my mind. It would be in there with all the other chaos and I would never be able to see that this voice was in there, simply because it’s just too chaotic in our heads.

So make something. Paint, sing, create a podcast, a radio show, talk with your friend about your passion and record it, become a yoga teacher, start shaving dogs, show us the goods. The only question that remains is; are you going to settle down and be an echo, or are you brave enough to find and publish your voice by any means necessary?

 


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