This old quote from Warren Buffett has me thinking lately, and I mean double-duty thinking! “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulsive decisions than most people in the business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”I’ve always admired people who come up with great ideas. And just because Buffett is a one percenter, doesn’t mean he’s an automatic ass. It doesn’t keep me from appreciating this value he sets for himself.
The title “Think Tank” has always gotten my juices flowing. My mind’s working overtime here, but I envision a group of super brains sitting around a round table. Maybe one with the flowing swirls of Red Oak for inspiration. Everyone’s gripping a pen so they can capture new ideas before they get away. The best of creative minds can work miracles, solving the unsolvable.
Think about it, where would we be without the thinkers… to invent, create and inspire? We’d be freezing our hinnies in the outhouse at night, reading this blog by candlelight, and be forever tethered to our desk phones. I’m convinced that brainwork — the invisible activity — is the very best thing I do. So why not take advantage and put it to work? And I don’t mean just deciding what’s for dinner. Without the distractions of a phone or music or conversation, silence allows my thoughts to blossom. This downtime is when I get ideas for blogging or the perfect word for the perfect spot. It’s when I get inspired and come up with solutions. And often it’s when I come to my senses and let something go that’s been bothering me for a long while. Thinking is magical when you let it be. And Warren would agree.
The trouble is our culture demands visible proof of time well spent. Labels such as “lazy” or “slacker” are used to describe those wise souls who pause to put their feet up. After all, there’s so much to do and we feel guilty when every minute isn’t filled. Co-workers and friends constantly ask, “What did you do this weekend?” because they expect action all the time. Fearing they’ll label us lazy or worse — boring — keeps us going full throttle, whether we feel like it or not. If you spend every minute “doing”, there’ll never be time left over to think of how to do whatever… better.
Stopping all activity allows the dust to settle. Cells regroup, mending perspective and getting ready for the next day’s onslaught of data to sort though. So the next time you see someone “doing nothing”, shhhh. They’re doing their most important work.
My plan: I’d love to get a new perspective on all sorts of things so….I shall start interrupting my daily routine to do nothing but sit and think. Starting with just 15 minutes a day seems doable for me to start a new habit. The when hasn’t been decided! Who knows what the brain scramble will leave in its wake.