“Finite speech ends with a silence of closure. Infinite speech begins with a disclosure of silence.”

James Carse


“For some moments in life, there are no words.”

Willy Wonka


No words. Sometimes silence is not a personal choice, it is decided for you by the moment.

Ponder that a minute.

Moments have demands and some of them demand silence. They show up and, well, there are no words for them.

Now. I love finding the right words at the right time. It is a really special feeling, almost delight, to say something and you know a light bulb went on or the listener smiles or you can possibly bring a tear of happiness alive.  Those are special moments. But. I think I would trade them all for the moments where words fail me. Not the moments I couldn’t think of the right thing to say, but rather the moments that render you speechless.

I will note that a moment that renders you speechless, there are no words, and, yet, there is always something that could fill in the gap.






No words and yet they speak.

Anyway. We seem to talk a lot these days. A lot. And while there are gobs of articles and research discussing how all of these words distort our attention, make us numb to what matters and cognitively bludgeon us, I think it would be healthy for all of us to sit back and think about when we were speechless. When in a moment we had no words. Or maybe we saw someone caught with no words because of a moment. Why? Because I am damn sure 99% of those moments would remind us that we can pay attention to things that matter, we are not numb to things that matter and we can engage cognitively on important things.


Sometimes the moments for which there are no words are the important ones. I would argue that reality actually does offer us a lot of important moments like these but, inherent in their importance, they are a sliver of moments not an overwhelming majority. Which, I imagine, both makes them even more powerful and even more easy to forget about or overlook.

Beyond simply seeing these moments for their value I would also suggest that it is actually the silence itself which is the reminder ‘no words moments’ have value.

As a business person, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that silence given, or received, is a powerful communication tool.

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

We really need to remind ourselves of that because, as I noted in the earlier, we talk a lot – online and in person. The funny thing is I believe all of us know, especially when we are younger, that there is a time to ‘not talk.’

Then. School makes “filling space with words” a competitive arena and starts making us believe it is a way of life. And in the business world this competition for words and ‘speaking your ideas to get credit’ goes to an entirely new level … it’s on steroids. And, of course, the internet, the social world, is a mind numbing battle of words (not ideas).

That said. It takes courage to not speak, yet, silence is power.

“Silence is so accurate. “

Mark Rothko

Regardless of business, or Life, to me silence defines accuracy and accuracy is power.  When, well, sometimes there are no words, within the space of silence lies get opened up and bleed to death and truth is able to step to the forefront. Truth is power.

In fact, in the silent space it permits a listener to think.

In fact, in the silent space silence it permits the speaker to think.

Thoughts fill the space in which there no words.

In fact, in the silent space the moments which have no words are permitted to be valued.

All that said.

For some moments there are no words. Those moment are important, so important, words would devalue them. So maybe, just maybe, we should enjoy the silence, value the silence, see the moment bare of words, rather than try and find some words.

Just ponder.

Written by Bruce