Simon Fowler's Blog

rLiving Interlude: Reflecting^3

Posted by Simon on May 15, 2010

Half way through the 30 days and it’s late and I’m pooped so this is just a little reflection on the first 15.

It just so happens that I’ve spent several weeks reading and talking about ‘reflection’. One theme that’s come out in discussions with clients and with subject matter experts and, well, anyone you talk to, is that no-one has time for reflection. No-one has time for it, but everyone needs it. They don’t have time for it because they’re too busy. They’re too busy because everything is needed in a hurry.

It just so happens that the Forum Corporation, where I work, published a book this month with Harvard Business Press called “Strategic Speed” (Free pdf download of Ch. 1). I project managed the early research stages of the book . One of the “why, of course!” and “really?” findings of the research was that people, teams and organizations that “took time to reflect, to think” before and after (i.e. it’s not just a pondering about the past) achieved the purposes and goals FASTER and MORE SUCCESSFULLY than those that didn’t. Everything may have taken longer to “get done” but they actually achieved the results, the value they were looking for sooner, and for longer.

Having never really written much before, in my 43 years of life, writing a blog post every day has been pretty taxing. But the process of writing them has been extraordinary in helping me crystallize ideas I’ve pondered and randomly discussed for years and years. It makes me wonder how much more progress I could have made in my thinking (and action) if I’d taken more time to write these down. The spiritual discipline of journaling makes more sense to me now. The difference with a blog is that the public nature of it, and the 30-day project I’ve committed myself to, has a powerful focusing affect. By writing something down I have to choose the words and the sentence. I have to decide on the idea, the thesis and the antithesis. These mental processes involved in writing for an audience are real brain training. That’s why universities should probably keep giving written assignments.

Reflecting on this reflection on reflection, it’s incredibly satisfying to be getting my thoughts out there and to have gotten to a point in my life where I realize that, “you know what, yes, I actually think this, and I’m okay if people disagree with me because there’s more to learn, I know this isn’t the final word and I may yet be wrong.”

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