Some time ago, a guy named Jason Gay tweeted this to his Twitter followers:
There’s a guy in this coffee shop,
sitting at a table,
not on his phone,
not on a laptop,
just drinking coffee,
like a psychopath.
Since then, Jason’s tweet has been retweeted 34,000 times and favorited 37,000 times. It seems Jason hit upon an uncomfortable truth about our current reality – many of us don’t allow any time in our day to disconnect from either our work or our ‘social profile’.
There is rarely a moment when we’re not reaching for our devices in order to react to the ideas and requests of others.
We, as a collective culture, have become very uncomfortable with being bored or devote time to reflecting on our own thoughts. And so there are fewer opportunities to notice, question or create.
Some time ago I heard one of the founders of Apple, Steve Wozniak, ask a full audience “in these days, where do people go for answers? Here’s a hint: it starts with “GO” and it’s not God”.
In my work I constantly see leaders of all sorts, from entrepreneurs to CEOs of global corporations, wrestle with the fact that they have no time to reflect; when I look at their agenda’s they are fully booked and most of the time double booked.
They spend a great deal of their day fighting fires, being reactive, making off-the-cuff decisions and responding to urgent requests or perceived threats. The important word here is “reactive”; they react to things that pop up around them all day.
Being reactive leaves very little opportunity to find creative solutions to work-related problems or to find answers to their own important questions.
Busy schedules don’t allow for contemplation or the cultivation of intuition. The casualties are our productivity and our best ideas. The result is, at best, the defensive execution of half-baked schemes and poorly thought-out plans and, at worst, days filled with unfulfilling work that eventually leads to burnout.
We do good work when we create the opportunity to do it.
It’s about consciously allowing headspace to clear and work on the things that deserve our time, commitment and focus.
True intelligence only shows up in your slowed down mind and the more you become aware of this, the more comfortable you’ll get with allowing your creative spirits to flourish.