Embrace the pause

We have a really difficult time with pauses.

For some reason, we have this incessant need to fill in our everyday conversation with something. Even if we fill it in with just garbage.

Um

Well

Ahh

Yeah

So

You know.

Like.

It turns out, that most conventional speech is broken down into short pauses (0.2 seconds), medium pauses (0.6 seconds) and long pauses (1 second). Except the long pauses are actually not that long.

Great public speakers can hold a pause for 2 to 3 seconds.

It just isn’t in our speech either. We have a difficult time pausing our careers, the market, economy. We cannot stand when our lives are on hold. And COVID-19 is exposing this.

Why?

Pausing creates tension. Just like watching a magic show, after the trick has been performed we want to know the magician’s secrets. If she reveals the secret, it’s no longer magic but simply a trick.

Adults struggle with this tension. We spend a lot of time wishing for it to go away. Instead of wasting our time trying to avoid it, the alternative is to learn to lean into it, to dance with it.