43things.com is a unique website where people post things they want to do, and goals they want to accomplish. Supposedly, from what I could glean from the intro to the site, each registered member has 43 slots to fill with things they want to do. Each thing somebody wants to do has its own page, so when you enter the thing you want to do, it searches to see if there are other people who want to do the same thing. It shows you the list of people who want to do that thing, allows you to add yourself to the list, and adds that thing to your list of things you want to do. There are also comments on that thing below—-a sort of discussion.
I discovered this site when I Googled the following phrase “How do I stop myself from doing things?” I was looking for general advice on how to “train” myself. Getting into the habit of doing things seems more straight forward. It’s breaking habits that seems more difficult. I was looking for general advice, but really had one particular bad habit in mind—-speaking without thinking first. Just saying the first thing that came to mind.
I searched for it, and there are 9 people who want to “think before speaking,” and 7 people who want to “Think then speak,” or something along those lines. Then I found 353 people who want to “Think before I speak.” By that I mean they want to think before they, themselves, speak, and not that they want to think before I, David Bessler, speak. The truth is, I speak so quickly sometimes, I’m sure there are those who would like to be able to think before I speak. “Think before I speak” is just what they typed into the search box at 43things.com.
After I spent a few minutes looking around if there was a way to combine these topics into the one topic they were obviously meant to be—which there is—I moved on and began reading about the site, and exploring a little. Then I registered and set up my account.
Finally, I settled down into the the first thing I want to do, and began writing this post. I eventually learned that I could simultaneously post it to my blog. So I set up my blog and that’s want I’m doing now. But I digress. Back to the bad habit of not thinking before I speak.
This happens most when I’m angry. I’m going to try waiting some amount of time before responding. Don’t know how long that should be. Also, having somebody to bitch to about it helps bide the time.
This connection in my mind between anger and not thinking reminded me of something I head learned time and again in Yeshiva. There’s a chapter in Maimonides Mishna Torah which discusses this very topic. It speaks about anger and about the value of silence and thinking before you speak. You can find a translation here. Be sure to read chapter 2 items 4 and 5 specifically.
Here’s a good quote from there:
Silence is the maturation of wisdom. Therefore, one should not be hasty in answering, and one should not speak excessively.