It’s tempting to fill in the natural silences that emerge in a conversation. The reason is that you don’t know the reason for the silence. Specifically, you don’t know whether it’s because the other person isn’t interested in the conversation, or is simply reflecting on what has been said to guide the rest of the conversation in a more informed way.
Since you don’t know which is the case, it’s tempting to play it safe and fill in the silence with the hope of reigniting interest in the conversation.
However, more often than not, it isn’t that your partner isn’t interested in the conversation, but that they were simply reflecting in order to provide a more informed reply. Since we can speak faster than we can think, we often need to allow time for our thoughts to catch up on and internalize what was said before responding.
So, most of the time, the right response to a natural silence is no response. The right response is to simply be comfortable with the silence by acknowleding that it’s a necessary part of enhancing the future quality of the conversation.
A reader of this blog recently let me know that one of the ideas I wrote about actually came from someone else. He shared the original piece by its author and the gist of the argument that I made on this blog is indeed similar.
This leads to the point of this post.
Specifically, whenever I knowingly draw on an idea that originated from someone else, I attribute the idea to them.
This leaves the unattributed ideas that I share in this blog where I don’t knowingly draw on someone else’s prior work. While these ideas are my own in terms of the specific writing with which I express them, they are not my own in terms of inspiration, nor can they be.
Each of our ideas is inspired by what we take in from our conversations with others and the content (text, audio, and video) we consume. As such, although the limits to our mental capacity prevent us from specifying the exact combination of influences that produced the idea, each of our ideas is almost certain to have been partially or fully thought of by someone else in the past.
In other words, this blog’s reader is correct. My ideas are not my own. They are the result of all the conversations and content that I’m fortunate to be able to learn from.
And these conversations and content, in turn, are inspired by other conversations and content.
In other words, our ideas are not our own.