The Hidden Cost of Not Speaking Up

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Speaking up is one scary task, isn’t it? Who wants to be put in the spotlight, fighting against injustice, without guaranteeing you will receive support?

And in some cases, it will come with a cost.

Yet, did you know that not speaking up might come with more significant costs? In this article, we will share 5 hidden costs you must bear when choosing not to speak up.

Let’s dive into it:

1. Missed opportunities

By not speaking up, you take away opportunities. You let your potential be just that. Potential. Imagine never mentioning a word regarding a problem.

We get it. You might feel you’re seen as incompetent, lacking good ideas, or stupid for your proposal. And who wants that? The problem with this thinking is that we can never know. What if your proposal might indeed be what everyone is looking for? Or, at the very least, lead the conversation in the direction of figuring the right solution out?

Not only this…but not voicing your thoughts will leave you without recognition or the chance to advance in whatever role you have because no one ever noticed you.

2. No accountability

Keeping silence can breed a culture where non-accountability is the norm. And why is this a bad thing? When people are not held accountable for unethical behavior and mistakes, this behavior becomes accepted and will continue to flourish. It’s easier to do wrong than to do good.

The majority of the people will later on adopt this kind of culture, which leads to disastrous outcomes. Outcomes of the sort where great damage has been done, people lack trust in each other, and it becomes more complicated than ever to rebuild things since no one will bear responsibility for their actions.

3. Rise of injustice

Not speaking up is synonymous with being compliant. When witnessing an injustice, choosing not to speak up results in us accepting the unfairness done.

The injustice will continue, and it perpetuates a system where oppression and discrimination are socially accepted.

Today, the injustice is done to someone else, but tomorrow, it can be done to everyone.

4. Stagnation

In correlation with point number 1, not speaking up will also mean stagnation.

Stagnation in your personal development, stagnation in your role, stagnation of the problem.

Without your contribution, innovation isn’t happening. What if your contribution, ideas, and proposed solutions are the ones that will bring a positive change in the community?

Lastly, without speaking up, there won’t be space for any dialogue and feedback to benefit your growth as a human. 

5. Growing issues

Last but not least, not voicing out will result in growing issues. Without addressing problems, they will be kept hidden, growing and growing until they become a challenge beyond repair.

Depending on the nature of the issues, they can negatively impact your well-being, the team, or the community you are part of.


Not speaking up is comfortable. It is easy. It is something most choose to do. They choose so because if it doesn’t concern them, why would they want to get in trouble?

But keeping your voice unheard will backfire tenfold. And soon, you are involuntarily in trouble.

Speaking up requires leadership, and we, as an organization, believe everyone is capable of leadership. However, we are also aware that leadership needs to be practiced.

Therefore, we are organizing Youth Speak Forum events worldwide so that you can practice your leadership skills in a safe environment.

Get in touch with your local AIESEC branch to find out the details about the next Youth Speak Forum you can attend, and practice speaking up now before paying the price of inaction.


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