"One option is to struggle to be heard whenever you're in the room...
Another is to be the sort of person who is missed when you're not.
The first involves making noise. The second involves making a difference."
Read that again. And a third time, if you think it's worth it.
I like to think I'm in the second crowd, but I suppose most of us would.
I used to catch a lot of heat for being the quiet and shy type. Still do, now and then. But school was the worst. From grade school all the way until I graduated, I was known as the quiet type. I was recently referred to by an old classmate as "a brainy one." Uhh... thanks?
Truth is, I get a lot more out of listening to others, and watching others, than I do out of being heard myself in most situations. Sure, I have stuff to say now and then like anyone does, but I'm not a person who thinks their ideas will change the world. I think some people like that are presumptuous, even if they're right and they're brilliant. Even if going out of their way to be heard means more personal or professional success, a higher paying job, or a new invention that will do the laundry while I'm at work. (Okay, okay, I'd forgive that person if I got a free prototype.)
I may be intelligent enough to dress myself in the morning and I may be educated according to a piece of paper in my file cabinet, but I don't believe I am superior to anyone else and I like that about myself. The guy who picks up our trash on the curb on Wednesdays is quite possibly more intelligent, or educated, or creative, or business savvy, or a better parent, than I am. I don't feel threatened by that. And that's why I'm okay letting others talk while I listen. Maybe I'll learn something. A new idea, a different perspective.
I'm not threatened, either, by people whom I disagree with about politics or other issues. I don't believe that someone is automatically wrong, mistaken, misinformed or stupid if we don't agree about who the best president would be or where our tax dollars should go. Everything that person has experienced in their life has led them to the beliefs they have; who am I to say that their experiences are any less important than mine? I think that a discussion with someone who is on the other side of an issue from me can only bring me more knowledge and more tolerance.
Besides... I'd always rather be the type that is missed rather than heard. If I'm missed, that means someone cares about me. If I'm heard, it means someone else has ears.
That's a no-brainer.