Just Sit There and Do Nothing

Posted on Saturday, October 9, 2010 in Creativity, Imagination, Leadership

catWe are conditioned to act. Leaders, especially, are expected to DO to get results.

But life is so complex and modern challenges so immense that sometimes the only way we can gain clarity around these issues is by becoming quiet and calming our brain.

Many years ago, when I worked as an instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), I heard a story told about NOLS’ founder, Paul Petzoldt. The story goes that Paul recommended that the first thing to do when there is an emergency is — smoke a cigarette.

Smoking cigarettes may be out of fashion but Paul’s point is still relevant. We need to create space and practices for clear thinking.

Reading poetry in silence is a great way to calm the “monkey-brain” that so bedevils us in modern life. By slowing down, you are more present and experience a shift in attention and consciousness. This shift allows a deeper knowing to surface.

Cat Image: Kaibara

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