Over-thinking and the art of internal deliberation

Over-thinking and the art of internal deliberation

Pondering, percolating, and how to draw clarity out of our heads.

Deep thinking is like a steady, intuitive, drawing-inward to come to a resolution.

Over-thinking is like standing in front of the mirror, changing between six different outfits until they all look terrible.

Deep thinking is resting in the answer that comes.

Over-thinking is grasping… for anything.

Deep thinking is the ultimate creative work of a business owner and leader.

Over-thinking is the work of fear.

A few weeks ago I went on a wee Bono-binge, watching him on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, then devouring a series of interviews on YouTube (like this intriguing one with Charlie Rose). In all three interviews, Bono was asked about the delay of U2’s next album. And in every case, he answered (paraphrasing):

“We’re waiting.”

He shared a story about advice he received from Quincy Jones. When it comes to art, sometimes we have to wait for God to come through the door. “God is teaching you to wait,” the distinguished Mr. Jones told him. So they’re waiting.

Deeply listening.

In the creative and academic worlds, it is generally accepted that clarity, decisions, or understanding — in forms like inspiration or study — is a process more than a flash of inspirational lightning. Sometimes it’s not found. Sometimes, it finds you. It comes through the door.

Growing a business is a creative process, and yet we so rarely give ourselves the permission to think deeply; to ponder, to percolate. To wait and watch for the answers to come with the same intentionality we use to seek them out.

Deep thinking is contemplative: purposeful expectation. Thoughtful observation.

It is intentional. Unforced. Meditative.

And in business, it is rather radical.

But it is where wisdom resides.

Over-thinking is inherently frantic, and frantic never solved anything.

When big the answers don’t come, we don’t have to be afraid to wait. To listen. We can give it a day, a week, or an hour (our hearts will tell us how long) to “sit.”

Let God walk through the door.