“If you can’t say something interesting and positive about something, at least say something interesting.” —Bob Gill, in Graphic Design as a Second Language
The counsel “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is well-intended. It works for very young children, perhaps.
But at some point, you may called upon to judge work that you don’t like. Or, in Bob Gill’s case, you might be asked to design a book cover for a topic so boring that you have nothing to say about it. (And designing something is always saying something.)
If you don’t say anything when you haven’t anything nice to say, you abuse the privilege you have with the mic.
What if, instead of silence, you challenge yourself to say something interesting, something that opens a different question?
Anyone can sing praises. Anyone can trash talk. But it takes a critical and creative thinker to say something that helps others to explore a new perspective.
Critical thinking isn’t just about analysis. It’s also about looking beyond yourself. And that’s where compassion begins.