The Rock’s Best Line Will Make You Stronger

What is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s best line? Come on, you know this.

From here…


…and here…


…even from here:


No? Don’t remember it? He drops it all the time. Whether he’s about to whoop some ass or holding two puppies. Still no? Here it is:

The Rock’s most powerful line is silence.

Sure, he talks a lot in his movies and comes out with funny one-liners, but the moments when we fear, respect, and admire The Rock the most are always the ones where stares right at us without saying a single word.

Why? The Rock’s huge stature, bald head, grim look and insane muscles all work best when he leaves it to our imagination what he can do with them. Fantasizing about our own future while accounting for what a man like The Rock can do when he’s in it terrifies us. That’s why watching him is so exciting, especially when he doesn’t say a thing. It’s also why Anne Victoria Clark’s The Rock Test is a wonderful way to stay professional at work.

Now you may not be a 260 lbs, 6"4' former wrestling champion turned world-famous actor and social media superstar, but you can still use his best line.

Why Silence Is Impressive

The general consensus about The Rock is “you better not mess with this guy.” That’s why we’re always curious to see who’s stupid enough to try next. The Rock’s brand is designed that way on purpose. We’re awestruck because he wants us to.

What’s surprising about that is that his massive physical presence is only secondary to that cause. None of it would work as well without the silence. The impact we have on others is built entirely on opinion-forming and in that it’s always us, the audience, who does the heavy lifting. Silence helps us do the job.

When deliberately chosen, silence makes whoever uses it look impressive. That’s because it gives us the time to actually form an impression. Everything meaningful you could possibly say will be more powerful if followed by a pause. In communication, silence takes a different role than it does when we’re alone.

It’s when we sit by ourselves that from silence, all our demons rise. Fears, worries, regrets, whether they’re minuscule or severe, it’s when we’re in our heads that we can hear them the loudest. That’s why most people can’t handle silence. Whatever might come from it would drive them insane. As a corollary, it rarely stays quiet for long in a group.

But when we’re talking to one another, silence isn’t a place where we go to get lost in our own shortcomings. It’s valuable space to process what’s been said. The speaker hands us a thread and then, by resting, gives us a chance to continue spinning. We carry the seed of the idea and then plant it deeper.

As a result, Patrick Bateman is most frightening during an intense stare after an outburst of laughter.


Barack Obama is most empathic when he’s waiting.


Dumbledore is most enigmatic just peering through his glasses.


And Gandalf is most wise when whoever listens gets the joke on their own.


From poker players to presidents, actors to artists, speakers to leaders, and performers to athletes: The most powerful people employ silence. They use it as a tool to shape how we see them, deliver their message, and change how we feel.

In a world full of noise, silence is the clearest statement.

If you want to have an impact, say one word less than yesterday. Silence is strength. Let there be silence.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 353,974+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.