Over the weekend, I shared some images from my passion for candid street photography called Deep Thinkers and indeed that got me thinking!!
From the second we wake up, our senses are bombarded with information. Television, radio, smartphones and tablets are all part of our sensory overload, and that’s even before we’ve got to work. Emails to answer, meetings to go to with our teams, or clients to meet. The pace of life is so hectic these days that we don’t give ourselves time to think, and therein lies the problem. Modern- day life does not provide us with the time or the space to undertake thinking in solitude.
When I facilitate learning programmes with teams, I often ask the question, “When do you get your best ideas?”, invariably people reply with answers based on when they are alone. In the bath, walking, in the car, sat on a beach, in the park. Very rarely do people say “In a team meeting.” or “Whilst I’m sat at my desk at work.” When we do have time to ourselves to think, more often than not we have that Eureka moment when we exclaim, ‘That’s it! That’s the answer to that thing I have been trying to solve’.
Whilst I am not decrying the benefits of collaborative thinking to solve problems, we seem to have overlooked the benefits of providing space and time for us to think alone, whether this is at home or in the workplace. Our homes and work environments have, over the recent decades become more aligned to an ‘extraverted culture’ where we are expected to collaborate and interact with others, where talk is seen as beneficial and being quiet is frowned upon. I once heard someone in authority ask a colleague a question, when she replied, “I need time to think about it.”, he replied, “but you don’t think.” As well as being downright rude, it showed a total lack of respect and empathy for her need for some thinking time.
Whilst we all have a preference for either ‘getting our energy from others’ or extraversion as Carl Jung termed it, or indeed ‘getting our energy from within’, or introversion, Jung said that we can do both. More often than not, it is when we are using our introverted attitude that we have the solitude and time for clarity of thinking.
So how often do you have time to think by yourself? How long do you have time-wise to do this? Where do you go to get the solitude required? and What have been the benefits or the ‘Eureka’ moments that you’ve had?
I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best, Nick
P.S. I’m off out to walk my dog to get the solitude I need for some thinking, which is when I get my best ideas come to me.