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The Lost Art of Thinking

Remember the old dark ages when we didn’t have Wii or cell phones or the Internet? When we actually had time when it was quiet? The horror, the horror!

Now, apparently we have to talk to someone (anyone) during every waking moment. We must call someone the minute we get into our cars. We have to update our Facebook profile if we sneeze. We have to watch all the TV shows we’ve DVR’d. I’m right there with you—I have a Blackberry and if I get bored I start checking e-mail or randomly texting my friends.

But you know what I’ve lost? The silence. I used to fill up downtime with thinking—about what I needed to do or how to solve some problem. I don’t think you can find yourself in all this noise. And I don’t think all this has made relationships better. In many cases it seems to make it easier to be dishonest (a text can be sent from anywhere and the communication is all one-way—perfect for deception). And why stay with one mate with there are millions of other people waiting to meet you on the Internet. All more exciting and attractive (so it seems) than the current boring one you’re with.

I have some crazy ideas for you:

When you are with live humans, put your cell phone away. You made the plan to be with them, be with them.

Ask yourself, why do I have this need to constantly be distracted? What am I trying to avoid?

Try some silence. When people are trying to make a hard decision I tell them they need some silence. Most people never have any silence—they are busy filling it up with noise. Silence equals clarity.

Ask yourself, is this the highest, best use of my time? (Is playing Mafia Wars how you really want to spend your precious life?)

And when was the last time you did any real thinking? About what you want—about the direction of your career or your life? Why is that important—more important than updating Facebook? Because that is YOU—the depth of you, the best of you—the rest is just noise.

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