Me at home last Christmas. Mountains are vast and grand. Being surrounded by them, breathing fresh cold air is a perfect place to think.
How often are we afforded the luxury of being able to stop and think? To stop and think. And by 'think', I mean to consciously analyse, to contemplate deeply and to carefully calculate the future. I would like to propose that we rarely get this opportunity.
Surrounded by a group of brilliant thinkers - the Kauffman Global Scholars 2012
Throughout our early years we attend school, grow up fast, listen, absorb and dream. Dreaming is different from 'thinking' as I loosely defined above (dreaming, in my mind anyway, implies a relative disconnection from reality). Then, when we leave education, due to social and economic pressures we often jump at the first opportunity to present itself. Be this a grad scheme, some other form of employment or just a chance to go and travel. It's just not socially acceptable to stop and think, besides we're desperate to keep moving. Everyone asks you the same question at the end of university, "SO, what are you going to do now?!".
We feel guilty if we don't know, we resent the idea of moving back home and we feel obliged to impress. So we rush into making a 'career' decision. Frequently this rushed decision is not ideal, but it doesn't matter because "i'm doing something, and I can change jobs later anyway". This often leaves a nasty taste of dissatisfaction in the mouths of new graduates, albeit slightly sweetened by the new influx of a salary.
A friend of mine recently introduced me to a musician by the name of 'Passenger'. I find music to be a great way to engage in thought and to disconnect from external pressures, and i've had Passenger on repeat of late.
I have been afforded what I believe to be an incredible luxury. I've been given the opportunity to stop and think. To do nothing but think... for six months, in a foreign country, surrounded by inspiration and opportunity. Constantly being encouraged and empowered has opened up a world of possibility. Now living alone, I spend every evening thinking. Thinking about everything, from life, to love, to business and beyond. Sometimes it's not always productive to be immersed in ones own thoughts but tonight was a productive night! I spent 4 hours talking philosophy and business with the young CEO of a new Seattle startup. She's focused on giving people opportunity through a new kind social network.
...Maybe in hindsight... Often hindsight is the only time we can afford to think about things, and by then it's usually too late. Passenger sings a song 'Let her go' which illustrates the problem of hindsight (albeit on rather more romantic level).
Listening to her talk was inspirational, it gave me the opportunity to consciously analyse, to contemplate deeply and to carefully calculate the future. It gave me the opportunity to stop and think... and dare I say it, I think I have a plan....