BY NANCY KLINE – author of More Time to Think, available from www.octopusbooks.co.uk
Certain times of the year seem determined to turn us into frenetic, only faintly-familiar versions of ourselves. This is certainly one of those seasons.
We cannot change that external craziness around us, but we can choose how we respond to it. We can take charge of it. We can do this by becoming, right this minute, masters of internal ease. Mastering ease matters because we think better, and others think better around us, when we are at ease inside. And given that the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first, mastering ease is an imperative for lives of real success, and for lives committed to love.
Around you is the injunction to hurry, to cut corners, to compromise quality, to stop thinking and give into the rush. But you need not obey. Instead you can do these four things:
You can stop wherever you are, take a breath and notice what is true in this moment:
- You are alive.
- At least one person cherishes you.
- You have made at least five good decisions in your life so far.
- The chances are that you will succeed at whatever you are doing with your life right now.
- Your influence for good is spreading in ways you cannot imagine.
- Your intelligence and your love are often dazzling.
- There is one thing right in front of you, wherever you are in this moment, that is beautiful. You can notice it.
- You have the wondrous capacity every second to think for yourself.
Those are the truths of this present moment. Noticing them takes 10 seconds. Those 10 seconds can give you hours of fine thinking, of energy, of autonomy, of joy.
You can ask yourself this question:
‘If I knew that I can make this season a time that works wonderfully for me, how would I take charge of it?’
Knowing what you really want, and thinking for yourself about how to get it, are keys to a calmer, clearer, more intelligent life (in any season).
You can decide that for the next two weeks you will not interrupt anyone. Interruption keeps people from thinking well. It revs up anxiety entrenches conflict and compromises love. It is a killer of many good things. You can decide to stop doing it. You then can ask two other people in your life to do the same for you. If you can soon establish this kind of reciprocal generative listening, you can both figure out what you really think and make superb decisions. Uninterrupted attention is a gift. It makes people more intelligent, and it deepens love. It is simple. And it is magic.
Finally, you can think about three people you love most in the world. You can remember that life in this moment is not a guarantee; the people we love most could in an instant die. This sobering thought is also a sweet opportunity to consider what we cherish about them, and to decide to tell them today what we love about them. We can then become people who do this as a way of life: sharing what we respect and value in others, just because it is true.
This season is not inherently crazy. It is not our tyrant. Not if we live it from an internal life of ease. Not if we decide to think for ourselves.
Nancy Kline (www.timetothink.com) is considered a world expert in independent thinking. She is the founder of the ‘Thinking Environment’, a life-changing process that reconnects people and teams with their capacity for profound independent thought. She is President of Time To Think, an international leadership development and coaching company offering this process to companies, universities, executive teams and individual leaders. She is the best-selling author of Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind; More Time to Think: the Power of Independent Thinking; and just published, Living With Time to Think: the Goddaughter Letters. Nancy chairs the Time To Think global faculty who work as coaches, facilitators and consultants in organisations around the world. She also teaches master classes and open courses in the Thinking Environment. She is an acclaimed, deeply inspiring public speaker.