August 24, 2009

Is Thinking A Lost Art?

The mind is the most capricious of insects.
Virginia Woolf

If I asked you how often you think, you’d probably say – always.

And that’s true.

If I asked how often you allow yourself time to think about what you want to accomplish or roll an idea around in your head before acting or just sit in your workspace and ponder new creations – how would you answer?

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.

Why don’t we allow ourselves time to shut off the unrelenting chatter and noise once in a while to strategize and let a project filter through our gray matter?

What would you do if you walked into someone’s office and they were simply sitting in their chair staring out the window? Would you wonder if they were napping or perhaps daydreaming? Is it possible that they could simply be thinking?

Believing is easier than thinking.
Bruce Calvert

If you do presentations as part of your job, you probably have some sort of ritual. I enjoy cranking some tunes while I make hand written notes. Then I slowly piece together the story. I have a colleague who can’t do any presentations at the office, she has to take them home where there are no distractions.

Distractions are everywhere, they never leave us and if we ever find a rare moment void of them we have gotten very good at creating some simply but going to a website or signing on to the social web.

Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament,
a new source of energy, from which new arts flow.
Philipus Aureolus Paracelsus

I used to work with a guy who spent his entire day stuffed inside his blackberry dealing with "other issues" rather than making eye contact and dealing with the one he was currently facing. I call it 'technological avoidance'.

We humans can’t seem to deal with the quiet, the time alone with our simple thoughts. We have this inherent need to fill our minds with stuff then blame the stuff for our busy lives.

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts
into action is the most difficult thing in the world.
Johann Wolfgang von Geothe

We don’t give ourselves or each other the proper time to think things through. Time is money, deadlines loom, the client needs an answer right away, we have to finish that immediately.

Where is the time to create? How on earth can we give anything the proper deliberation when society judges us by solution reponse rates?

A caution: thought without decision won't work either.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Albert Einstein

When was the last time you devoted an entire day to thinking. No email, no websites, no calls, just you and maybe a notepad and pen. If you haven’t tried it, you should. If you are a manager, you should get your people to give it a shot.

Schedule some think time in your day. Don’t just fill it up with stuff so you can end each day exhausted and satisfied you "got a lot done today”.

Thinking is doing and we simply don’t do enough of it.

When do you think?

image credit: msclipart

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