What are four ways incredibly busy people can get some quiet time?

Our lives are filled with chatter, whether it’s virtual, physical, or in our own minds. Silence has become a rare commodity, one we think rarely about, and yet time to ourselves has become scarcer and scarcer. How can we carve out quiet time for ourselves when the world seems to be on full blast? Can we truly reach deeper thinking in our moments of silence?

Justin Talbot-Zorn is a Truman National Security Fellow and Public Policy Consultant. He’s been a regular meditation teacher on Capitol Hill, where he also served as Legislative Director for three different Members of Congress. Leigh Marz is a former nonprofit executive director and is currently an organizational consultant, coach, and organizer of retreats for leading universities and federal agencies. I recently interviewed Leigh and Justin on the LEADx Podcast, where we discussed their article The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time and the benefits of silence. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)

Kevin Kruse: You say great thinking requires us to get beyond the noise. Why do you say that?

Justin Talbot-Zorn: Kevin, you know I personally learned this one the hard way, having worked in quite a few chaotic and crazy settings including, as you mentioned, Capitol Hill. I noticed that the constant chatter in the workplace or cable news blaring would just undermine my own capacity to do deeper, creative thinking, the kind of work that’s really needed right now. Many of us now are drowning in information and starving for knowledge these days. We’re really inspired by a book actually Cal Newport’s recent book, Deep Work where he talks about how folks like J. K. Rowling and Walter Isaacson and Carl Jung back in the early 20th century had these incredibly disciplined practices for getting away from all of the noise in order to really tune into their intuition. They really dig into their research and then get into this moment of flow and silence, which struck us as the common denominator to getting into those moments of flow and getting into that kind of deep work.

Mom ponders her quiet daughter’s introversion

Dear Amy: We have a 15-year-old daughter who is very introverted. She is happiest being home alone.

She has a group of friends she has known for about nine years, and the eight of them often do things together.

As they have grown up the other girls have branched out into sports and other time-intensive hobbies, while my daughter prefers to spend time drawing and painting.

She will go in on group activities, but usually only if her one best friend is there with her. Otherwise, she prefers to stay home.

My husband has a similar introverted and loner personality. I, on the other hand, like to see friends and family a few times a week. I can’t help but feel anxious about her not having friends because it reminds me of feeling left out in my teen and young adult years. She truly seems not to seek others out.

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How can I relax and be sure that she isn’t me and that she is content with being more alone? — Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned: Your daughter is NOT you. She is also not her father. She is herself.

Every teen faces challenges and challenging times, but your daughter being introverted does not indicate that she has a problem. Far from it!

Your daughter does have friends, and like many quiet people, she is most comfortable with one person, versus a noisy larger group. And like many creative people, she prefers to be alone in order to express her creative vision.

I hope she has opportunities to expand creatively, and lots of encouragement from you and others regarding her artwork.

Author Susan Cain’s important work would illuminate your daughter and husband’s temperament. Read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” (2012, Crown).

A companion book for young people (written by Susan Cain, Erica Moroz and Gregory Mone, and with illustrations by Grant Snider) might be a useful addition to your home library. Check out “Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids” (2017, Rocky Pond Books).

Here’s why some people keep their cancer diagnosis to themselves: ‘An incredibly personal decision’

Sometimes, news of celebrity deaths comes without warning — even when the cause is cancer.

Such was the case recently with Paul Reubens, whose death at the age of 70 came with an apology on Instagram, from the Pee-Wee Herman actor himself, “for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years.”

While it’s unclear who in Reubens’s life knew and did not know about his illness, some famous friends expressed that they’d been shocked to hear about it, including the actress Daryl Hannah and the comic Kathy Griffin.

The singer David Bowie, the writers Nora Ephron and Jackie Collins and the actors Norm MacDonald and Chadwick Boseman also reportedly kept their cancer diagnoses quiet, as have plenty of nonfamous folks — whether because they believe it’s the “loving” thing to do, as one writer shared in an essay about his wife’s decision to keep her terminal illness from their kids, or, as another writer said of keeping her own breast cancer secret, to prevent the disease from becoming part of her identity.

In fact, research on the topic — including a study about men with prostate cancer and a small study comparing disclosure patterns between women and men (with men being more secretive) — “suggests there’s a whole variety of reasons” for keeping such a diagnosis private, says Kelcie Willis, a postdoctoral fellow in psycho-oncology at Mass General Cancer Center.

“Cancer is almost synonymous with uncontrollability,” Willis tells Yahoo about what often goes into decisions around disclosure. “And your choice sometimes gives you controllability in a very uncertain situation.”

Other considerations: Work, loved ones and self-identity

“The No. 1 thing to understand,” says Leora Lowenthal, president of the international nonprofit Association of Oncology Social Workers, “is that this is an incredibly personal and individual decision, and for each individual, there are going to be multiple considerations. One may be what it means for them to be potentially defined or perceived in a different way.”

She points out that these considerations can be even more extreme for famous folks.

Paul Reubens didn’t make his cancer diagnosis public. (Photo: Getty Images)

“For a celebrity, the line one crosses to leave privacy is so explosive,” she says. “I can’t even imagine what that would be like to know that if I mentioned to someone that I had cancer, it might show up on front pages. Because then, there’s really no turning back.”

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