15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


Avoiding Awkward Silence


As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided that I will be more consistent with my blogging schedule. So, unless I am attending a funeral (my own) I will post a new blog every Tuesday this year. Everything was going according to plan until I left my phone at the office an hour ago.

“Why does that matter?” I hear you cry.

Well, as it happens, I scribble notes all the time on my smartphone. I usually keep my next 1 to 3 blog posts there. When I find something profound to quote in a book or audio, I scribble it into my phone-notepad and email it to myself. Or I tweet it. I write my shopping list there. My to do list. My phone has become a very valuable tool in my life. In fact, I find myself having to make arrangements now just to wake up in the morning on time (for those of you like me who do not own an alarm clock, here you go: http://onlineclock.net/ ).

So, since my carefully thought out blog post is locked behind a very advanced security system until tomorrow morning, I was faced with the quandary: “should I postpone posting my blog?”

If I had waited until Wednesday, nobody but me would have known. I never even announced to anyone that I’m updating my blog on Tuesdays. If I waited a day, it certainly wouldn’t make or break my year. In fact, my first post this year was on Wednesday, just because I wanted to post on January 1st. I could have just changed my regular posting day to Wednesday for the entirety of 2014 and I would still have 52 new blog posts by year’s end and no one would be the wiser.

But I decided to just jump in and ramble away. Filling the awkward silence as it were.

Of course, it’s not actually the same as an awkward silence in a conversation or social situation, but I was just writing a comedy bit about awkward silences so it was fresh on my mind and I’m pressed for time.

During an awkward silence, the stand-up comedian or the befuddled date has one of two options:

  • Excuse themselves and run away.
  • Or talk their way through the silence. Usually by explaining the punchline… or what he meant by that comment.

By filling up that awkward silence with an attempt to keep the conversation moving, the speaker will trip, and stumble… most likely sweat at least a little. And even though those rambling attempts at not looking like a dimwit will rarely produce any comedy gold or profound truths, at least the earnestness of the attempt will produce a chuckle or a nod of agreement.

Actually those are probably reversed, the date will chuckle and the audience will nod. Some of you are smiling and nodding right now as you read this.

So, mission accomplished.

There is probably a life lesson to be learned regarding overcoming adversity, dealing with setbacks, persisting in the face of imminent defeat. But come on, I just forgot my phone I didn’t escape from a P.O.W. camp.

For those of you out there with any sort of writing goal for 2014: Write!

And when you can’t write: Ramble!


True Sustainable Energy

ImageFor my first blog of the new year I will muse on the subject of passion.

Sustainable is a big buzz word with government know-it-alls these days.

We need sustainable energy.

We have unsustainable spending.

I hate borrowing buzz words from a group that can’t even “sustain” an approval rating in the double digits (I’m looking at you, Congress 6%). But…

A truly sustainable energy source is human passion. Anything we enjoy doing we do often. We may get tired, but we don’t grow weary. Filing reports at work may give you a headache. That is a daily activity that you can grow weary of quickly. But an avid stamp collector doing similar tedious and intricate work going through stacks of envelopes is excited to do it.

A popular expression, which I just this moment found out is from Neil Young is “Better to burn out than rust out.” The truth is, you will never burn out when you have passion. When someone says that they are burnt out with work, with exercise, with bowling, with life; their problem is not physical, it’s mental.

They’ve lost their passion. They’ve rusted out. And often it’s because they gave it too little effort rather than too much.

Do not fear burning out. This year make a high and holy resolution to live with more passion in your life.