Thinking about thinking
“When you create space to think, play, talk, connect, and listen….and not be emailing, reacting, doing, meeting….you start to have breakthrough insights” - Greg McKeown
With due deference to Greg McKeown, who knows a lot more about these things than I do, I’m nevertheless going to go ahead and replace “breakthrough insight” with “shower epiphany”.
So, whilst taking a shower this week I was thinking about my clients property requirements. You have to have a pretty good relationship with a client to admit you were thinking about them whilst taking a shower, but I’m pleased to report that we’re still on speaking terms.
Anyway, I came up with a relatively straight forward plan of action which will hopefully enable them to sell their current home and move to their next in one seamless transaction. I appreciate that it’s not revolutionary in any way shape or form, and it may not even work, but it got me thinking…..about thinking.
Let’s go back 300 odd years, to 1667. Issac is relaxing under a tree. Admittedly there was probably not much else to do in 1667. No iPhones. No Netflix. No Social Media. In fact, no media of any kind. The fake news story goes that Issac gets bopped on the head by a falling apple, and from there works on an idea, based on mathematics, which becomes the Theory of Gravity. A theory so groundbreaking, that it took another 238 years for Einstein to improve on it.
Fast forward again to 2020, and we live in a 24/7, non-stop culture of doing. 5am clubs, late nights in front of computers, continuous streams of news, entertainment and social media feeds. It can be exhausting, particularly if you’re the kind of person who feels energised by deep, focused work and not by continuous chatter, notifications or updates.
On the flip side of this, we hear about people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet setting aside hours a day, just to read or think. We tell ourselves that it's ok for them, they’re billionaires, they have all the time in the world. Until you realise that they have more pressure on their time and more demands made of them than you or I could ever imagine. They create space to do these things because they are important activities and they know that they can perform better when they do. They are acting, not reacting.
So perhaps next week, instead of filling every second of every day with doing, it would be good for us all to spend more time in a state of not doing. Walking, swimming or riding a bike, things that we can do without really thinking, and therefore giving ourselves time to actually think.