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All Subtlety is Lost

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I made this for the guys at KoPoint. It’s nice to be making this kind of content again occasionally. :)

“Louder is not the answer. More is not the answer. The important moments in life happen with your friends and by yourself. Nothing important won an Academy Award. If everything in life is getting louder, I’m going to get quiet.”

* Filed by Julien at 12:06 pm under random


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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30 Responses to “All Subtlety is Lost”

  1. Chris Oliver Says:

    “You can’t trust anything that’s been edited at least once.” I think this video might have been edited though. ;-)

  2. Rob Long Says:

    This really hits home for me. I can barely hear out of my left ear. So when I’m in a cluttered soundscape, I am unable to focus on a single voice/sound. Apparently we use our stereophonic hearing to isolate inputs in terms of direction. When you have monophonic input, this is directional sense is gone. So I long ago learned to associate busy, out of control soundscapes with unproductive nonsense. This also explains my borderline neurotic aversion to television, that inverted monolith of devolution.

  3. Kelly M Says:

    Well said ….

  4. Joseph Ratliff Says:

    Love it Julien.

    I’ve already been focusing on “being quiet” myself, and focusing more on listening, rather than making more noise.

    That way, when I do speak up, whatever I say has been getting better reception… in life, business, and other places.

    This, dare I say it, was your BEST post ever in term of the impact made with the least amount of content.

    Great stuff man.

  5. Curious Says:

    Great post. Random question do you think your advice (not only in this post) impacts so called “3rd world” countries as the “developed world” because of the gaps there are in between them.

  6. Jennifer Johnston Says:

    Hey Julien – That video just gave me a wicked time-rush ‘whoosh’ in my ears. A little over 20yrs ago I was a communications studies student working on our department’s student newsletter. We called it ‘Noise’ and I chose the following Edmund Burke quote to appear right below the flag of our inaugural issue:

    “Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meager, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.”

    It’s not that what you share in the video and the quote are saying the same thing. Rather, you got me thinking alot about noise, perception of importance, and the relation of volume to perceived importance. Thanks for the excellent provocation.

  7. Andrea Says:

    Love it! Quieter, more listening, less rattling.

  8. Quinn Says:

    Hi Julien
    Man, are you hot. I would totally tap that ass!
    As for what you said – I’m not going to pretend I understand all of it. The jist was enjoy the silence – don’t trust without question. Good advice. But I stopped trusting people a long time ago. I trust them to fuck up at some point – and this is freeing as I know where I stand (rarely disappointed). It also allows me to forgive others as I know I will inevitably fuck up too.
    Anyway – stay hot
    Q x

  9. fras Says:

    its true in a sense,the old people used to say that the less u speak the more others want to hear what you have to say. we definitely are trying to force to much…

  10. John McLachlan Says:

    “You are confusing what is impressive with what is important.” E.M. Forster

    Noise is impressive.

    Nicely done Julien.

  11. Tasra Dawson Says:

    Now THIS is what I like to hear… and share with others. Already posted on my blog and FB. I think that if we could begin to recognize and embrace this as truth, then we would all begin to experience subtle shifts in our culture. I think we’re ready for it…

    Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” is another example leading the way back to a Culture of Character from our current Culture of Personality. I look forward to that day.

  12. Keith Nerdin Says:

    Nice video Julien. I good friend of mine just wrote this a couple days ago.
    I was truly inspired by it. It really resonated with much of what you just said. I highly recommend it.
    It’s titled, “I quit Twitter for a month and it completely changed my thinking about mostly everything.”
    http://adambrault.com/post/37201680402/i-quit-twitter-for-a-month-and-it-completely-changed-my

  13. Kevin Says:

    In poker if everyone at the table plays loose and you play tight you win. If everyone plays tight and you play loose you win. Same concept in life?

  14. letters2mary Says:

    So true that it cannot be more true. The truest! I love solitude. I love being with friends and not having to speak. All this seems lost in the fray. This is why I have started celebrating a sabbath. I take one day a week in which I will not work or fret over what has been or what is to come. There’s a lovely book out called “Receiving the Day” that addresses this. It is all ultimately a gift, not to be frittered away on silly entertainments.

  15. Michal Says:

    I rarely put comments on blogs, but this time I will :)

    I found reading this post a funny coincidence because I’ve been obsessed with similar thought for a day or so. I realized that phenomenon observing contemporary art. Contemporary art is mostly very loud, obvious and straightforward. Just compare Bergman with Tarantino. Or The Beatles with Lady Gaga. Or even go further and listen to Chopin.

    When you talk about “subtlety” you focus on the “opposite of loud” aspect but it is also worth to notice the “opposite of obvious or straightforward” aspect. When reading some of contemporary literature I noticed that all things are described very literal language. I guess it started in 19th century with Naturalism and Realism.

    Of course I do not value artists, the old masters are not neccessary better than modern, they’re just different. Still I personally find most of “old” art more delighful and more valuable.

    Regards!

  16. Adam Says:

    The art of shutting the fuck up. A rare yet crucial quality that goes unnoticed inside of a pounding sub-woofer.

    So nice when a conservation or idea sees itself through to a natural conclusion and not step further.

  17. Clare Says:

    Agree. Silence is highly underrated.

  18. acc666bolcombr Says:

    Julien or somebody!

    I can read in English, but I cannot listen.
    I would like to know that you tell in this video

    cheers

  19. Lori Says:

    What you said reminds me of one of my favorite quotes that has been considerable food for thought for me, sometimes we just need to get quiet and focus on the little, meaningful things in life. Thank you Julien, great reminder, great insight!

    In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
    Mahatma Gandhi

  20. Dan Patterson Says:

    Julien – thanks for donating your content, time, and brand to @KoPoint – I really appreciate and.

    As a radio and TV guy, I love the idea of #noedits. The audio of your post brings an entirely new and fresh context to this idea: https://soundcloud.com/kopoint/lost-subtlety-julien-smith

    Thank again. Looking forward to next week’s show.

    - DHP

  21. Amit Sonawane Says:

    Julien,

    What you say really resonated with me. But I aslo feel that when you are passionate about something, doing less is not the answer. Doing more is. So, I guess this could be a corollary to your video.

    Keep up the good work. I.E is on my reading-list and I am excited to read it soon.

    Cheers,

    Amit

  22. Jim "Da Coach" Rohrbach Says:

    A quote I like that is perhaps related: Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening for God.

  23. Brett Henley Says:

    I could go on a rant re: over consumption and the mediocrity worm hole that we seem to be willingly swan diving into – but you’re right, less is more.

    I try and hold myself to it – say something when it needs to be said. Sometimes I fail, others I find the right balance.

    All I know is that we live a now where having a voice is no longer unique. Having a voice that transcends without needing the loudest megaphone … still searching.

  24. Ross Says:

    Glad to see you making videos again. Although I’m not normally a video person for the reason below:

    “You can’t trust anything that’s been edited at least once.” *cut to next scene* This got me in trouble (not really) I laughed so loud in my office. That was brilliant sir!

    Keep it up, I hope to see more.

  25. Horatio Marteleira Says:

    Brilliant…guess that’s why I like sailing and being a boat slave in a small tourist town. It’s not always easy living with less; you wake up one day wearing your glory badges and you can’t shake them off.
    You’re brilliant because you speak the truth most people are shunning and you make it so obvious and urgent that many are bound to go freaking nuts looking in the mirror at the wrong person. Give us more until the mirror shatters!

  26. Doug Muhle Says:

    Way too much noise! Hard to even use the search engines these days.

    I agree though about the noise, it’s just fun to sit back and claim the spoils of war as everyone’s trying to be louder than the next guy.

  27. paul Says:

    curious: does this only work for folks that are already famous though? if you are quiet – how do you attract an audience (if they can’t hear you)? i’m all for silence (regularly don’t speak for days and just listen), but for work/business/making money as an entrepreneur… you sort of have to speak up at some point. no?

  28. David Says:

    Nailed it…and I have nothing more to say.

  29. Ashley Hoober Says:

    Love this post. Simple, blunt and to the point. Nice work mate!

    Ashley

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