Don’t Explain


Wild 093

Explaining isn’t necessary. Usually

“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you” ― Paulo Coelho

Explaining demonstrates a lack of confidence in your choices/creations/principles.

It’s election time again, and the blogs and commentaries are filled with innuendos, insults – and explanations.  Many Toastmasters will be helping campaign staffs. We might post a remark to a forum – and engage the wrath of the trolls from the competing candidate.

Should we try to convince a troll of our good intentions and that we are speaking factually?

“To be concerned with what someone outside your circle of respect thinks is to allow yourself to be pulled down to his or her level.” No, don’t explain. You won’t convince the ignorant and you’ll only encourage those seeking an irritated response.

It’s possible that what seems to be a troll is an eminently practical and scientific individual. It’s also possible he or she is painfully subjective and incapable of moving past personal biases. She may make decisions based on her slogan de jour. But this isn’t about the person who replied to your comment; it’s about you, the commenter.

“If you arrived at your creative vision or set of principles for good reasons . . . then you can be content to let your decisions and your work stand on its own . . . People either get what you do and are about, or they don’t.’”

“Explaining yourself is essentially an attempt to seek another’s approval. It shows you’re stung that they’ve withdrawn that approval, and desirous of getting it back . . . you show weakness. In losing the fight between trying to ignore them and craving the catharsis of engagement, you demonstrate a failure of self-control.

“Further, when some chucklehead gets you to respond you validate his importance. He’s made you do something against your better judgment. “You’ve given to him two of your most precious resources – your time and attention.”

If the critic has noticed some major defect in your reasoning or error in your facts, you can acknowledge that – if he is someone you respect or care about. But that’s not the end of your commentary. It’s just a bump on your road to learning. Try harder next time; don’t hit “send” until you’re sure it’s your best work.



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