Thursday, March 31, 2011

It is your mind

I meet filmmakers, poets, brilliant college students, wise teachers and visionary entrepreneurs regularly because of the work I do. Each one of these encounters has taught me something and shaped my perspective.

Recently, I had dinner with one of Asia's top CEOs and asked him the secret of his outrageous success. He smiled: "I make the time to think." Every morning, he spends about 45 minutes with his eyes closed, deep in reflection. He is not meditating. He's not praying. He's thinking.

Sometimes he's analysing business challenges. Other times he's thinking about new markets. Still other times, he's being introspective on the meaning of his life and what he wants it to stand for.

Often, he's simply dreaming up new ways to grow personally and professionally. Every once in a while, he'll spend between six and eight hours doing this, sitting silently, absolutely still, with his eyes closed - thinking.

Making the time to think is a superb strategy for success and leadership in life. Too many people spend the best hours of their days solely engaged in ‘doing' - on the execution aspect of things. Recently a client said to me: "Sometimes I get so busy that I don't even know what I'm so busy doing."

But what if he's busy with the wrong things?? Few things are as disappointing as investing all your time, energy and potential climbing a mountain only to find - once you're on the top - that you climbed the wrong mountain.

Thinking and reflection ensures that you're on the right mountain. Peter Drucker, the management expert said: "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." Being thoughtful and strategic is step number one as you walk to greatness.

Clarity precedes success. By thinking more, you will have a better sense of your priorities and what you need to focus on. Your actions will be more crisp, deliberate and intentional. You will make better decisions and wiser choices. More time thinking will make you less reactive. You'll become clearer on the best uses of your time and this will, in turn, save time.

Your ‘think time' will provoke some amazing ideas and inspire big dreams. Lewis Carroll addressed this point beautifully in Alice in Wonderland when he wrote: "There's no use in trying," said Alice. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." 
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