Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thinking about not thinking.

There was, to my mind anyway, an important op-ed in yesterday's "New York Times," that, I'm sure, we were all too busy to read. You can see it here.

The article is by David Leonhard and is called "The Schultz Doctrine," and was based on former Secretary of State George Schultz carving out one hour a week for quiet reflection.

It's a sad commentary on our world that finding an hour a week seems, today, Herculean.

Without that hour, Schultz felt, we would forever be lurching from moment-to-moment, with no time to think of bigger strategic issues.

Psychologist Amos Tversky agrees with Schultz. He's quoted as saying, "The secret of doing good research is always to be a little underemployed." And "We waste years by not being able to waste hours."

Tell the above to the Finance people at your agency. Who seem to wield an employment guillotine lest someone is under 150% billable.

Leonhardt's "money paragraph," "Even before smartphones, this country’s professional culture had come to venerate freneticism. How often do you hear somebody humble-brag about how busy they are? The saddest version, and I’ve heard it more than once, is the story of people who send work emails on their wedding day or from the hospital room where their child is born — and are proud of it."

Perhaps the greatest film director of all time was the Frenchman, Jean Renoir. He directed "Rules of the Game," "The Grand Illusion," "Boudu Saved from Drowning," and "The Bete Humaine."

He said all of the above simply--as a good director does. "All great civilizations have been based on loitering."

We could all learn from that.

If we had the time to consider it.

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