Have something to say.

If you’re struggling to think of what to say, perhaps you should listen more. In a world of noise and consistent stimulation, the urge to shout into the void is overwhelming. The desire to be heard.

If you were a passenger on a train barrelling towards someone tied to the tracks, you would be compelled to scream out to them in the hopes they can hear, even if you have no power over the ability to stop the train, and they have no capacity to untie themselves. To you in the moment, there may simply be an irrefutable desire to let them, and everyone else on the train know, that it horrify you, and that you would do something about it if you could. And while this is very good for the passenger, it matters not very much to he who is tied to the track.

The problem then it seems, is that the fear of not being heard, outweighs the need to have something to say. To have something that can cause change, in the heart or the mind. Hence an era of blogging, to meet quota rather to inspire, or to relate. No one wants to educate, they just want to have their opinion shared. Equally however, they are so bombarded with story and information from others, they may not even be able to hear their own thoughts, or listen to the reply.

And that’s equally an important distinction, is that a conversation is two way – which results in mutual affirmation and education. One’s theory can only be expanded upon hearing another knowledge base which can confirm or deny it. Shouting into the void is remarkably one-way, and seldom results in any kind of actual validation, or expansion of the mind. If your opinion can reach anyone, as in the age of the internet it can; then equally anyone – regardless of whether they hold a genuine opinion or not, can respond and seem just as valid as anyone else. Largely, we experience not validation – but either nothing, or a sort of anti-validation when no one responds. Or “likes”. Perhaps you like a photo of you, and find that for once you look beautiful, but when you post it, no one or few people like it, so immediately you assume it must be disgusting. – When in fact, perhaps people were simply busy. Or… didn’t care.

The simple fact is, no one has a compulsion or a requirement to care. And while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it – it just perhaps means you should be less offended by it.

Perhaps you should be less worried, about the desire to have your thoughts heard or validated. You may not like what you find.

“If you remain silent; people may think you’re a fool. If you open your mouth; they may know it for a fact.”

There is nothing wrong, with listening to others for a change, even if you don’t like what you hear. And when you decide you are ready to speak, be sure you have something to say.

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.