My daughter is embarrassed when I try and imitate the “happy dance” done by an actor on a commercial for the Choice Hotels lodging chain. He is so happy after a nice night of sleep for a good price that he dances on his suitcase. It is quite enjoyable to watch – pure joy and unbridled expression! Similarly, we’ve all talked with children about going to their “happy place” when they are sad, remembering a special time in their lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AWUH0J0SyI
Daniel P. Forrester in Consider is in fact telling us to go to our happy place. For him this might not be a place to reminisce about better times or celebrate a good value but rather, a time to think, contemplate and build for the future.
Forrester stresses how technology is cheating us from these times of reflection and urges “no email Fridays,” sabbaticals, enough sleep and physically separating ourselves from our work environment to achieve time for contemplation. Facebook and Twitter he says, only feed us streams of other’s thoughts, making it difficult to hear our own voice. We must, he says, counter our single largest deficit we face as leaders, a lack of time to reflect and think.
I would have to agree with Forrester on his caution about the speed of technological and change, knowing that we can’t keep up anyway. As an example, he uses Blackberry and Blackberry Culture throughout to identify a busy person, while within the short time that the book was published and now, Blackberry is almost non-existent and is quickly disappearing from our culture!
I am actually writing this blog from one of my Think Time spots – an airplane. I’m on the way to Macedonia, through Vienna. Fortunately I have no seatmate and I’m on an aisle so I have room to set up my keyboard to type, after reading Consider. It’s more than just a work station or a way to kill time during the flight. As I fly about once a month, I find myself using the long hours as a time to think and contemplate. After dinner is served and I’ve watched a movie, I generally lay back, put the Bose headphones on and listen to classical music. This for me is the best Think Time I can have and generally after a couple of hours dosing, dreaming and thinking, I have generated new ideas, directions and plans – not only for work but for family and life. This is when God truly communicates with me.
I resonated with his ideas on Paradoxical Thinking, “the ability to hold two competing thoughts in your mind at the same time.” The ability to so open your mind to possibilities that one begins to see weakness as strengths and vice-verse. This type of thinking can produce agility and thinking outside the box, especially during times of failing strategies.
I’m not sure what my hotel will be like tonight. Perhaps I’ll leave wanting to dance the “happy dance,” but regardless of the lodging, I will have understood the benefits of giving time to think and plan.