Silence is Golden

Arne van Oosterom
3 min readJan 31, 2021


Silence is golden, but in more ways than you might think.

It seems that, more than ever, we long for moments of peace & quiet, the calm, the tranquil and mindful. And where there is a need there is an opportunity to do business. Silence as a product. It’s like oxygen in a can (yes you can buy such a thing) or water in a plastic bottle when your tapwater at home is just as good. You already have it!

Maybe we overcomplicate things a bit? Maybe you don’t need to be a Buddhist Monk, a Yogi or psychotherapist… maybe you don’t need to be taught by them and buy their books to understand silence, to mind-wander, to have inner peace?

I suggest it might help to think of it this way: Silence is not about silence. It is all about focus.

Like most things in life, ones you start thinking about it (too much) it starts to become very complicated… and rather abstract. What is sound? Isn’t sound simply our brain interpreting sound waves into something we call sound… if a tree falls in a forest without a brain around, does it make a sound? No. It does not. Our brain ‘makes’ the sound. So the sound is always made inside our head. We can however feel sound waves, like deep base at a concert.

On the other hand… what is silence? Is there such a thing? When sound waves don’t reach us from the outside world we simply start ‘hearing’ all the noise inside. The inner chatter we have within ourselves. (Or is this just me?) Do people who are born deaf have inner chatter? That reminds me of this wonderful episode of Radio Lab on a World without Words. Words, or so it seems, are blocking us from truly experiencing things.

I suppose that when you’re very good at meditation you might shut up the thoughts, the voices in your head. But a Buddhist Monk will hear breathing and a heartbeat… and I have tinnitus, a constant ringing in my ears, from playing in a band. There will always be noise, from the inside or outside.

So silence is reached through focus.

I drown out the noise from the world and my restless mind by playing piano or painting. And I drown out the noise from my tinnitus with the sound of a shower. This is where I get my best ideas. Our brain needs to process and our brain needs sleep. And to shut out the everyday noice we focus on the noise we want to let in. So maybe get a hobby, go for nature walk, leave your bleeping phone, sleep more and don’t get so stressed trying to get rid of stress. Be kind to yourself stop running every now and then and just do something you like to do.

Does this make sense? What do you think? What does silence mean to you? You have the right to remain silent …

This Wednesday Web Jam Michael Thorley, myself and will share some thoughts on silence with our brilliant Web Jam community.

Join us and register here:



Arne van Oosterom

Podcaster, Founder Blue Sky Republic, Creative Leadership Coach, Founder DesignThinkers Academy, DesignThinkers Group, Artis & Photographer