Silence in the age of noise
Erling Kagge
Penguin books / Random House

What a beautiful idea. Pause. Take a breath. Stay quiet. Even momentarily it’s a good thing. When you’re about to explode with rage because the car in front is going too slow. Stop. Reflect. You’ll get there. Sure it’s probably only leading to a red light nyway. When you’ve to make a decision. Pause. Reflect. It may only take a second. When you’re having an argument. Consider your thoughts. Reflect. Choose your words.

I can say all these things with great ease but can I put my words into action? Maybe not. I have tried when chairing meetings that are about to go out of control. Let it travel for 5 seconds, maybe less and then speak. Or sometimes when talking to a group of people, be it sport or work or debate. Pause, a couple of seconds to gather breath and resume.

The best piece of advice I’ve read is Kagges take on walking to the South Pole. “…put one foot in front of the other and do this enough times. The challenge lies in the desire…..the next challenge? Be at peace with yourself”.

I’m not sure if you drive but I’m sure this is the same even if you cycle or walk. Have you ever been unsure of what turn to take next? When that’s the case and there noise in your vicinity does it affect your decision making?? I know I need people in the car to stay quiet when I’m trying to figure out directions. Why is that? What is this silence I’m seeking.

Do you ever have moments of solitude. Do they exist when your staring at they sky? Be it a blue hue with some gentle cloud blowing in the breeze or a clear night with the stars dotted round like fairly large lights above. Or looking out into the horizon? Full moons can bring mood swings to people but there is something majestic in the natural aura of a full moon viewable from the ground. Almost mystical as we wonder if there is a person cycling around it. Kagge tries to capture such images.

The author is an explorer, who was the first man in history to reach both the north and South Pole along with the summit of Mount Everest. He has three daughters and runs a publishing company. His life is busy, not unlike yours. However noise can bring chaos to this world and silence can induce clarity. Well worth trying


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