Speaking of Success: When to open your mouth and when to shut the F* up

Written by on February 18, 2020

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The mouth is a powerful tool.  It can speak things into existence, and it can also chop us off at the knees. 


With such a powerful tool comes responsibility to use it properly.   It’s like having the sharpest knife in the world. You can use it to surgically save someone’s life, or you can cut their jugular and kill them instantly.  How we use it is up to us.

In terms of success, we can use this tool for the betterment of ourselves and others or we can lay waste to our future and hurt others in the process.  When it’s an amplifier of a success-oriented mindset, we find creativity, love, enrichment, and profits are commonplace.  When it amplifies an impoverished or scarcity mindset, we find stress, fear, worry, and anger.

Thoughts are simply a form of energy.  When we energize a thought with language and a sound wave, we send a powerful message to the universe.  We either add value to it or showcase our ignorance.  

For this piece, the former is our goal, while the latter is what we wish to avoid.  Here are a few tips on when to use your power tool and when to leave it switched off.



When to open your mouth

When it’s something urgent AND important.  If there’s a fire in a crowded building, please shout it loudly.  If you’re a passenger on my plane and you see another plane close by, please don’t hesitate to bring it to my attention.

When it’s both important and pressing, it’s not just a good idea to say something.  It’s your responsibility. It falls into the category of “the right thing to do”. This is without regard to popularity, what people think about you, or if you feel like it or not.

Take the position that if you don’t speak up, some people may die or be injured, whether it be physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally.


When to shut the F* up

When there isn’t life on the line.  If it doesn’t absolutely have to be said, consider perhaps not saying it.  In the least, take a pause before you energize your thoughts.  

Find times of intentional non-urgency.  First thing in the morning, during lunch break, or before bed.  Take time to listen to the universe and your body to know what’s going on.  The universe speaks, nature speaks, just not loudly. Take time to meditate and breathe deeply.

Listen to your body as well.  A lot of times, we are such a rush to say and do things that we don’t realize that our body (via discomfort, pain, or other sensation) is telling us about something not right.  

You must pay attention to the clues and whispers. Use your senses (speaking isn’t one of them).   Instead of speaking, touch/taste/smell something. What does it tell you?



When to open your mouth

When you have something of value to add.  Adding value to a conversation, a person, or even a community.  Think of it like building a structure with other people. If you add a brick or beam, you are helping to create something worthwhile.  Simply filling the air with words that don’t add value would be akin to jawing off while others are working. Not cool.

Here we also find another form of responsibility.  If you have a talent, gift, or skill, it is once again your duty to share it with others.  Hiding a talent or skill is like stealing from me. Consider any work of art that inspired you to do something.  What if that person never created it and instead just got a job at McD’s, shirking their responsibility to share it?  Imagine being robbed of that inspiration and consequent action.

Let everyone know you have something of value and then show it.  Don’t be a secret agent.


When to shut the F* up

When it comes to your opinions.  Opinions are those things that tend not to add much value to anything.  They are fine to have and respect in others, but they just aren’t that great at making anything better, and oftentimes quite the contrary.

For one, your opinion is mostly not your own.  It is made up of your conditioning, environment, and all the influences you’ve had in your life.  Formulating an independent opinion requires original thought and sadly, it seems most people don’t have more than a handful of those in their lifetime.

Secondly, what you think (if you do so), is really none of anyone else’s business.  Believing otherwise is making the rude (even if truthful) assumption that everyone can’t form their own.  For if you believe they could, they surely wouldn’t need yours.

Share information, awareness and data.  If all you do is “parroting” what you’ve heard from others, best to keep the trap silent.


When to open your mouth

To ask questions.  Once of the natural traits we have as young children is our innate curiosity.  It’s a trait so powerful that nature ensured we had it in order to succeed. The successful in our society know this, and have been using it for thousands of years to build empires.

One of the most powerful questions is “why?”  It’s the cornerstone of true understanding. Knowing what something is and how it’s done is useful, but real power is in understanding why it does it.  For then, we allow for the possibility of creation.

Asking questions is also crucial in building rapport with people.  People will only do business with those whom they like and trust. Trust takes time to develop, but you usually know in a few seconds if you like someone.  Ask people about their favorite topic: themselves!

Once we realize we’re far more similar than we are different, anger and hate tend to not be able to get a foothold in a community.


When to shut the F* up

After you ask the question.  Few things are more rude than to ask a question that you really didn’t want the answer to.  It’s a sure-fire way to kill a relationship before it begins. The key here is to be genuinely interested in the other person before you try to be interesting to them.

Besides, you can’t learn when you’re talking.  You won’t learn if you’re waiting impatiently to speak.  Allow the other person to respond, take in what they’re saying, and then respond based upon what they said.  This is called building a conversation.  You can’t lay down your brick until they’ve laid theirs.

Without building a conversation, relationship, or community, there’s little chance of us winning.  At the end of the day, we’re going to win together or lose together. Losing doesn’t sound like much fun though.


The good news to all this is that If we can build some competence in this amazing tool of the mouth, we may be able to realize the success that it can bring.  Combine that with discretion on when to use it and when to pocket it, we have a winning formula to make some great things happen in our lives.


  • Do you agree with us about when to open and close our trap?
  • What other things should be added to this list?
  • Do you have a story you’d like to share about an experience you or a friend had in this regard?  


We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic!  Email us at josh@brokeisnojoke.org 

Visit our website at www.brokeisnojoke.org

Follow us on social media:  @brokeisnojoke

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  1. Christy   On   February 19, 2020 at 17:26

    Great article. While I’d like to think I know better, this serves as a great reminder when to do both speak and keep quiet. Well written, tactful, and to the point.

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