Updated: Aug 31
“Stopping to think about where it’s all going will save us from having to stop and think about where it all went.”-JSP
It’s a learned discipline to periodically slow down, and take some quality time to think about what we’re doing and where we’re going. The idea that time is money will serve us well, if we understand that quality think time is an invaluable investment in our future.
I came to appreciate the value of quality think time out of necessity. I have always been a thinker and a planner. Strategic thinking is one of my strong points, although undeveloped early on. Before I learned the practice of contemplation, I was not in the habit of assessing the pros and cons of past performances and outcomes, in the light of my purpose. My future always seemed bright, but unnecessarily revisiting recurring issues cost me both time and money. What follows are some valuable lessons learned.
1. Quality Think Time Enhances the Power of Your “Why.”
“You gotta ask ‘why’ questions. ‘Why did you do this?’ A ‘why’ question you can’t answer with one word.” – Larry King
Try asking yourself “why did I make that decision?” or “Why was that the best option, or were there others?” Let such thoughts linger until the reasons becomes clear. Was that decision in line with your purpose? Did it advance your stated goal or delay it? Be specific with your questions and thorough in thinking through them. As you become better at questioning yourself, your thinking and assessments become very clear. You will see mistakes where adjustments and changes need to be made, where you’ve succeeded, you can enjoy the moment and reward yourself! You’ll begin to see if your past assessments, goal setting and/or solutions were carried out in a timely manner. This kind of quality think time will always help you put things in proper perspective.
2. Quality Think Time Helps You Understand Yourself
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – C.G. Jung
Quality think time will help you avoid the tendency to review past experiences without intentionally assessing them. If we celebrate our successes without getting at what made us succeed in the first place; that victory will be of no use to us in the future. There is also a reluctance to review personal failures because of the pain attached to those experiences. The danger here is to explain away such experiences as if they were somehow “written in the stars.” To which I would reply “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” (From Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar).
Reviewing the past must be intentional, and have purpose and value for your future growth. Be specific in questioning yourself, and honest with your answers. Doing so will help you discover things about yourself which will cause you to see things differently. Such as:
a. You’ll discover what motivated certain decisions (sometimes ulterior motives as well). b. You’ll begin to recognize where you tend to make emotional decisions. c. You may uncover why you seek the advice of your team in some situations and not in others. d. You’ll discover how deeply you valued the help of others by your responses to past successes and failures.
3. Quality Think Time is Empowering
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – Peter Drucker
Quality think time is empowering because examining how and knowing why we think, speak, and act as we do, makes us masters instead of victims of circumstance. The obvious alternative to being in control is being out of control. Thinking intentionally doesn’t mean you control your circumstances, it means you intelligently control your responses to them. Whether you’re riding a wave of successes or failures, quality think time will allow you to consistently make informed decisions.
No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking. – Voltaire
Quality think time is empowering because it helps you understand where you’ve come from, know who and where you are, and accurately see where you’re going. Despite its variables your future is longer a mystery. You’re empowered to:
a. See that past present and future events can be utilized to strengthen your purpose. b. Recognize trends and patterns through wisdom gained by assessing your past. c. Recognize and proactively address our own flawed habit patterns.
Never underestimate the power of Intentionally Focused Thinking!