• Thu. Feb 9th, 2023

Janeane's World

We train teams to work with confidence and competence. Call: 484 381 0532. Email: janeanedavis@janeanesworld.com.

Confidence Tip – Sometimes You Need to Shut Up

Today’s confidence tip is sometimes you need to shut up. I mean exactly that, shut up. When you shut up at the right time, you can achieve wonderful things.


This online magazine was created because I believe that everyone can succeed and be happy with the right encouragement, inspiration, and motivation. One of the ways I help provide that is by sharing confidence tips.  Some of these are tips that I use to help create or boost my own confidence. Others are tips that I have learned from others and share here.


Today’s tip – Sometimes you need to shut up.


I know that sounds weird and that you are probably making crazy faces right as you read those words. But it is true sometimes you need to shut up. In fact, you may boost your confidence with the knowledge that sometimes you need to shut up.


When I was a little girl growing up in West Philadelphia, we had a great neighborhood donut shop. When my siblings and I  were good and my mom had extra money, she would let us get donuts. This shop made the donuts in-house and they were so good! What I remember most though, was not the donuts.


What I remember most was a poster on the wall. The poster had a picture of a fish that was caught with a hook in its mouth from someone’s fishing pole. Under the picture were the words, “Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept its mouth shut.” That picture and that idea has followed me all my life. Even when I messed up and didn’t shut up when I should have, I thought of that picture and that fish.


Most people have heard the expression, “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Think of that expression as I explain what I mean when I say that sometimes you need to shut up. From time to time, we all have disagreements with people. It can be family members, friends, store clerks, or strangers on the street.


When we have those disagreements, we all want to convince the other person that we are right and that they are wrong. We will have words back and forth. Sometimes the words will be heated. Sometimes they will not.

On occasion, these verbal battles will go on and on and on. On occasion, we will get upset.


I mean after you have explained to someone that they are wrong, 14 different ways, you may start to get angry. Before that happens, stop. Decide if you want to be right or if you want to be happy. You can continue to argue with the person for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years trying to prove that you are right. Or you can decide you want to be happy and shut up.


When you shut up, you are not caving in, you are not saying the other person is correct. What you are saying is that you would rather be happy than right so you are moving on with life. This idea came to me when I was watching my twins have one of their morning disputes. One twin was said to the other, “you are right, I was wrong, I am sorry.” You would think the winning twin would shut up and move on. You would be wrong.


That twin kept going on and on about why the other was wrong and all the times the other had been wrong in the past. It was making me sick and I wasn’t even a party to the dispute. The winning twin could have taken the apology, shut up, and moved on with the day. But nope.  That child wanted to beat the other twin to death with their wrongness. Now, instead of a nice apology being given and accepted, we had to go through a whole  new dispute.



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I know that many people have done what my arguing twin did. It is part of being a human being that when we are right, we want to be really right. We want to rub it in and make the other person really feel how wrong they were. Stop that behavior. Instead, boost your confidence with the knowledge that sometimes you need to shut up.


When I worked as a defense attorney my clients who got in the worst trouble were the ones who did not know how to shut up. They would explain, and then explain their explanations, and then explain some more.

What they would not do is shut up. Talking too much can make an innocent person look guilty and wrong.


Sometimes the best course of action is to shut up. It should not make you feel bad to shut up. Shutting up is an exercise of power. Shutting up is you making a decision to have discussions and life on your own terms. It does take strength to shut up. But you are strong and you have done other things that required strength.


Take a moment now to think about how many things have gone wrong in  your life because  you did not shut up when  you should have? If you are anything like me, that is a long list. I am not saying that to brag. I am saying that because I have a habit of talking too much and had to learn the sweet science of shutting up.


It should boost your confidence to shut up at the right time because it is proof you are in control of yourself, your emotions, and your life. It should boost your confidence to know that you don’t have to keep talking just because you are correct. The next time you are in a situation where you keep talking and things are not going well or they are going from good to bad or worse, remember that fish from my childhood donut shop and shut up.

3 thoughts on “Confidence Tip – Sometimes You Need to Shut Up”
  1. This is definitely a simple but powerful tip, and I will always remember that fish from that donut shop.
    Thank you!

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