Silence seems to be sought and praised, at least in the context of mindfulness, timeout and similar. But on the other hand, silence seems to have a negative and outdated connotation. Exaggeratedly, no matter what I do, it could be wrong: when I talk a lot, I might bend peoples ears, when I listen attentively or when I’m happy with myself, I become a silent, shy, thoughtful, and hesitant person. Working in one’s proverbial “quiet chamber” used to be a positive way to say that artists or craftspeople took their time to optimize their work. These days, it is often meant in a negative way.

Old-Fashioned Quality Virtues

Thoroughness seems to have gone out of fashion anyway, as everything should only be good enough to sell or test it as a “minimal viable product” (MVP). I favor pragmatism and the Pareto principle, if used in a sensible way. I also refuse perfectionism, even more so, as it often makes people getting priorities wrong and focus too much on secondary virtues like politically correct language, formally correct programming (Clean Code) or pixel-perfect layout designs. But if the opposite of thoroughness only means to say the wrong things quickly instead of taking our time to think, then I prefer my quiet chamber which is rarely actually quiet in reality, but a place to work while travelling, in a cafe, on a train, in a public library or a co-working space. Sometimes I even try to work outdoors (“plein air programming”).

Priorities and the Power of Saying No

There is a true wisdom behind criticizing “the quiet chamber”: don’t get lost in unnecessary obsession with details, prioritize what’s essential, create visible results and do it in small and measurable steps. Prioritize tasks that earn money, then comes acquisition, marketing, only then follow up with research, education, and preparation. This might be basically correct, but if I always adhered to this principle, some of my surprisingly successful blog post might have never been written. You can also get lost and worn out doing paid jobs, and if they earn nothing but money, concerning ourselves with them might be a waste of time and energy at the end of the day. I know from my experience as an employee, and even when I became my own boss, in hindsight I think that I might have declined and said no more often in the past.

Conclusion: Silence?

Last but not least, I should add a concluding paragraph, finish this English version, and optimize the content, because my blog posts also have to adhere to the capitalist marketing logic of exploitation. Do they really have to? No, they don’t!

That’s my “plea for the quiet chamber” (I still don’t know if a similar saying exists in the English language), for silence, and for taking one’s time to find the correct answer.

Man with a laptop and wearing a straw hat on a rural meadow