The Power Of Stillness

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Over and over in history, complex issues have been resolved and innovative ideas actualized through deep levels of thinking. Now more than ever before, with technology catapulting us into the future, we are rushing decisions without taking the time necessary to truly understand context leading to concept and finally content.

Today’s leaders are valued for their swift actions.

Today’s leaders are valued for their bite-sized media clips.

Today’s leaders are valued for their fame and visibility.

Calamity and chaos have ensued. Politically. Economically. Socially.

The answer is very simple.

It has precedence throughout history.

It is the discipline of thinking.

The idea of taking a moment to pause, breathe, and be still seems to clash against the ethos of relentless productivity.

There is a reservoir of untapped potential in the practice of pausing – a power in stillness that is often overlooked.

Pausing and keeping the thinking “above the line” of relentless productivity allows leaders to step back from the immediacy of the moment and gain a broader view of the situation. This break provides the space to question assumptions, reevaluate strategies, and explore alternatives. It offers a chance to reconnect with the bigger contextual picture and gain fresh perspective on problems that seem unsolvable within the hustle and bustle of daily operations. It also puts a much greater level of influence in the hands of the person controlling the pause.

The leader’s challenge is to understand where the thinking line is being held at any point in time and to question what level of thinking must they be working through for the greatest success.

Two factors come into play:

  1. The Content/Operational level is tangible, immediate, and real. It is seductive. It rewards territorial behavior. It creates a sense of value through activity. It feels rewarding. Everyone is “doing”. Without real leadership of thinking, anyone will move to this level in the collective.
  2. The Context/Strategic Relevance level is intangible, hard, and future-paced. It is challenging. It tests higher-level thinking, demands higher value focus, and requires everyone to align for the greater good rather than individual positioning. It can create a sense of frustration arising from delayed action. It can feel like a waste of time. Everyone is “just thinking”.

The skill of any wise leader is to be able to move The Line, at will, up and down the hierarchy of thinking and bring everyone with you.

However, it is ONLY this level of thinking that creates truly timeless solutions to complex problems.

Unfortunately, context is typically one of the first levels of thinking that leaves any complex conversation and without context, the conversation loses meaning.

The skill of any wise leader is to be able to move The Line, at will, up and down the hierarchy of thinking and bring everyone with you.

This is my promise: I am leading the Renaissance of Wisdom to teach this discipline to leaders across businesses, organizations, and government to truly catalyze needed change at this time in our history.

We must Slow. Breathe. Think.

Our fortunes, our humanity, our peace, and our future all depend on it.

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