Someone has placed in my possession two immaculate white business cards containing a mere pair of words written in a neat, understated black script:
Whether whimsical, mean-spirited, or sagacious, the identity of the donor remains unknown to me. The cards travel with me, mostly for the humor of them but also because—in tormented moments—I wonder whether they mean what they say and were given to me with resolute purpose.
These literary curios were not the first to arrive at their mysterious knowledge.
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:27 ESV)
The mouth and the tongue are lousy instruments of perception. Ears and eyes beat them by a country mile.
Ears and eyes channel to the soul of their owner the occasional regretful impression, it is true. But the mouth is a virtual reservoir of sorrow. Unmanaged, left to its own devices, it makes a fool of the man or woman who unhands it.
The biblical fund of wisdom draws out the power of this simple instruction still further, with just the hint of a smile:
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28 ESV)
So much of growing wise is hard and complex. The real ROI lies in the bonanza that comes from bearing down on the simplest instructions.