Power of Silence
When Jacqueline Bouvier married JFK she became “Mrs. Kennedy.”
She was the Princess Di of her generation.
Following her husband’s assassination, Jacqueline’s voice was almost never again heard in public. She quickly became the most mysterious and glamorous woman on earth. When she married Aristotle Onassis, the world’s richest man, she became forever thereafter, “Jackie ‘O’.”
“Like so much in her life, the aim of her signature style was concealment. A chemical straightener disguised the naturally kinky hair she hated. The teased bouffant masked a low hairline. Kid gloves covered large, strong, mannish hands… the cut of her suit jacket artfully concealed the breadth of her shoulders and her muscular back and arms. The skirt disguised hips she thought much too broad. The shoes were specially cut to make large feet look smaller and more feminine. Sunglasses hid brown eyes set so far apart that her optician had to special-order a suitably wide bridge. Dark lenses had the additional advantage of guarding emotions that since childhood she had taken tremendous pains to hide.”
– Barbara Leaming, Mrs. Kennedy, (2011)
But, oh, she was glamorous.
One way or the another, all glamour follows the formula laid out by Hollywood photographer George Hurrell, “Bring out the best, conceal the worst, and leave something to the imagination.” Mystery is an essential element of glamour as it provides a blank space for the imagination, a spot where the audience can project its own desires.
Silence, too, provides both a blank space and a mystery. It is a type of glamour. Few people use it to full advantage.
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
– Leonardo da Vinci
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, too, understands this power of silence. “Never say no twice if you mean it.”
Taleb also observes, “What we call a ‘good listener’ is usually someone with skillfully polished indifference.” And when that same cold indifference turns its face toward you, the silence can hurt like frostbite. “You remember emails you sent that were not answered better than emails that you did not answer.”
Roger Lincoln says,
“There are two rules for success.
(1) Never tell everything you know.
Ha! Silence strikes again.
Perhaps we should study it.
I think maybe I’ll start
Roy H. Williams