I once did an experiment that I found very beneficial toward understanding the importance of speech and its effect on the mind. As a kind of training, I decided that for a period of three months I would not speak about any third person. That is, I wouldn't speak to someone about someone else. I discovered several things from doing this. First, my mind became much less judgmental because I wasn't giving voice to the various judgments in my mind — even good ones. And as I judged others less, I found that I judged myself less as well. Second, I discovered in this experiment that about 90 percent of my speech was eliminated. This silence led to a lot more peace of mind. It was astonishing to see so clearly how much of the time our talk is about other people.

Joseph Goldstein in Benedict's Dharma by Patrick Henry