“Discretion is better part of valour” is the oft quoted reversal of William Shakespeare’s quote from Henry IV (Part 1) where Sir John Falstaff says, “The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part, I have saved my life.” There is a spiritual and practical truth to this saying.
The 179th aphorism of Balthasar Gracian, the Seventeenth Century Jesuit priest, is remarkable in its translucent bearing of personal power manifest in the holder of the truth.
Simply, “reticence is the seal of capacity.” Every time we tell a secret commitment, even to our most treasured loved one, we’ve uncapped the seal of potency--the cat’s out of the bag.
A person of action is credited with much in this life. This was no different 400 years ago. “What must be done need not be said, and what must be said need not be done.” The trick is nowadays we live in a world of instant messaging. Everyone wants to express themselves.
If we have the want within us to achieve anything of note above that which we have already achieved i.e. the difficult thing, we’re best advised to become a coiled, resolute spring, full of faith--the faith of the enduring faithful.
Coiled, resolute springs, like the pressurised and capped cylinder of ‘capacity,’ are eternally reliable and only ‘let go’ at the pre-determined time.
The champion doesn’t give the game away, ever. His homecoming is just in time, even to the shock and surprise of onlookers; they hardly expected the outcome, but he (or she) knew all about it. How many champions are written-off well before time? And those who write them off reveal puny characters, not understanding the magic and truth of this wisdom.
Anyone can apply it. All it takes is a gritty, patient, unswerving level of self-control. This is the type of character that always battles, understanding the nature of war; it’s about attrition. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.