Control your thoughts; they may break into words at anytime. – Anonymous
What does that mean?
This quote is about the things people say. It implies that sometimes that filter between our mind and our mouth doesn’t work as well as one might hope. It can be funny when someone else does it, but usually somewhere between mortifying and career limiting when we do it, right?
We tend to think a lot of things. We usually keep most of those thoughts to ourselves. This quote asks us to consider what might happen if even a few of those comments escaped our mind and ended up coming out of our mouths. Some of the comments wouldn’t be too bad, but others, well…
The quote, in whole, is a caution about what we think and what we say. The vaguerities of life takes enough of our well-intentioned words and twists them. There is no need to make things even more difficult on ourselves by blurting out something which we probably shouldn’t even have been thinking, right?
Why is minding what we think important?
To take the logic of the quote to it’s conclusion, why would you want to think something you wouldn’t want to say out loud? With everything else that could go wrong, do you want to have to worry about your mouth betraying you?
There are many sayings which focus on how our thoughts shape us. This one speaks about what can happen if a thought escapes. But what happens to us if it does not? What do we have going on in our heads? And what is that stuff doing to us, if it’s so obnoxious that we don’t want to let it slip out?
Do we want stuff that icky in our heads? Or would it be better not to even think about it? That is a serious question. If we aren’t willing to discuss what we are thinking with our friends, our family, and our coworkers, what business do we have thinking it in the first place?
What good could possibly come of it? We know what else could come of it, which is why we don’t speak of it, right? So that is the challenge, to identify the thoughts we wouldn’t want to slip out, and stop thinking them as soon as we notice, right?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Well, the literal saying can be applied anytime we are thinking. Making sure we don’t say stupid things is a full time job for some of us (myself included). By not even thinking things that would get us in trouble if overheard, we make our lives a whole lot easier.
It happens quite a lot on TV or in the movies. Someone blurts out something they were thinking but shouldn’t have said. Plot gets complicated, and much groveling and apologising happens, and usually all ends well. At least on TV and in the movies, right?
But in real life, it’s not always that easy, is it? How many times have you seen others do something like that? Sometimes it isn’t that bad, or even gets a laugh (because everyone else was thinking it but didn’t want to say it). But there are probably at least a few times when it’s been a real problem.
And, of course, parties and alcohol only make these terrible lapses even more likely to happen, right? How many times have you said something you were thinking, but probably shouldn’t have? And does that happen more or less frequently at parties or when drinking?
That leads us to the obvious question: Why is it that we don’t we say what we’re thinking? Some reasons might be that the thoughts are inappropriate, mean, vulgar, petty, obnoxious, or otherwise not proper for the occasion, right? Then why think it at all?
Consider what you are thinking, and see if you would say it out loud. If not, is there a valid reason to continue that thinking? There are times when it is appropriate, like planning a surprise party, or considering various options prior to making a decision. If not, it’s usually either leading you somewhere ugly, or wasting your time, right?
Words mean something, and so do thoughts. Constantly thinking things you shouldn’t be thinking does not do your mind and mental state any good, right? So why even think it? Just don’t go there. That seems to be what the quote is implying.
It might be something worth thinking about. And even talking about.