I’m a big believer in free speech. It may not seem as free as it used to in the United States but in fact nothing has changed. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, it always has and always will. But that’s about the government. The government isn’t supposed to infringe on your right to say whatever you want.
But your employer, your friends and your family are a completely different story. While no one can stop you from thinking whatever you want they can certainly penalize you for saying it. Friends for example “penalize” you by not being a friend anymore.
Companies terminate people all the time for saying things that are not in line with company policy or culture.
Get over it, it’s always been that way it just seems to get more exposure than it used to.
But here’s the thing, just because you think you have the right to say something doesn’t mean you should say it.
There’s a well known guy who lives in a big White House, government subsidized at that, and he has one of the toughest jobs in the world. Maybe the toughest. Yet he insists on making it even harder than it already is by saying pretty much whatever he wants. Which is entirely his right.
You have that right too. So do I.
Sometimes I say some pretty stupid stuff but not nearly as much stupid stuff as I think. You see not only do I have the right to say whatever I want, I also have the right not to. I have the right to remain silent.
So do you.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I knew I would have been better off NOT saying something about a nano second after I said it. That by the way is often easier said than done.
But I’ve gotten better at it. I’ve also got a long way to go. I’m willing to bet a lot of people reading this post are just like me.
So what if together, we paused for a moment before we say anything and ask ourselves if what we are about to say adds anything of value to anyone. Ask ourselves if what we are about to say improves on our circumstances or the circumstances of the person we’re about to say it to.
On the days I do that successfully I say a whole lot less. I and the people around me are often a whole lot better off because of it. I’m going to work at having more days where I say less so that the things I do say will matter more.
Will you join me?