David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
“Two percent of people think; three percent think they think, and ninety-five percent of people would rather die than think.” George Bernard Shaw
Shaw died seventy years ago. I wonder what he would think if he were with us today. Have things gotten worse? In a time when we are spoon-fed other people’s thoughts 24/7, are there fewer people thinking for themselves? Are we too busy to think? Are we just too lazy? Sadly, I feel the answer to all of these questions is yes.
At this year’s Live2Lead, Greg Groeschel said the greatest phrase a leader can say is “I think.” As I reflected on his words, I realized that I am not thinking enough. In a time when things are very complicated and thinking is so critical, I am rushing around like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. Normally, we would say, “what a wise squirrel, he is diligently preparing for the winter—making sure that he and his family are prepared for the change in season.” However, the problem is that this squirrel is preparing just as he has his entire life, completely unaware of what might be happening around him. The Red-tailed Hawk sitting in the tree on the other side of the yard. The garbage truck that is lumbering down the road as he scampers across with his latest harvest. Perhaps he is missing that a large oak filled with acorns is only two houses away. Our little friend is clueless, and if I don’t make time to think, I am as well.
Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi once said, “Innovation is seeing what everybody else sees and thinking what nobody else thought.” Seeing is only half of the equation; we must be highly intentional about thinking. Before I wrote this post, I intentionally placed holds on my calendar to schedule thinking time. I realized that if I don’t set aside thinking time, I will rush over to the next acorn and then scamper back across the road. The craziness about this is that I was content to be busy doing what I “thought” should be done, those activities that I do every year in preparation for winter. Never “thinking” about how different things might be.
Scheduling the time is only the first step in this process. Granted, it’s the first step and probably the most important, but I also need to prepare myself to think. I will need to learn what to think about and will need to use tools and techniques to make the most of my thinking time. Clearly, I don’t have space in this short email to explain this further, so I invite you to join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 180 of The Next Page podcast as we discuss the tools and techniques that will help make this a success.