Friday, April 8, 2011

How to hear your own voice

Who creates the new leaders and visionaries for our world?

Well, not today's schools, media, and institutions, argues William Deresiewicz in a great article named Solitude and Leadership recently published in the UTNE reader.  I read it this morning, in the sofa with a cup of tea next to me, and there are so many things in it I agree with and would like to quote it.  But I am afraid this post would be too long then, so it is better you just click on the link.

Take the time to read this article. Don't get distracted, just read it, it is important. I promise.

The center pieces of his thoughts are that:

  • We have no longer time for peace and quiet in our minds due to overabundance of distractions from TV, internet, cell phones, and text and so on.
  • We are not training kids and ourselves to think and envision, only to achieve and become people that can follow rules but not be great leaders.
  • We need more nonconformists, more concentration, and more introspection in ourselves to deal with the current problems in the world. 
The article is about America, but I think Europe and other regions have similar issues. We live in a society were everybody has a lack of time (unless you are retired I guess), but maybe we have more a lack of concentration and focus than a lack of time.  The world around us chop up our time into useless little pieces where we no longer have the opportunity to think about a thing long enough to make a solid decision or thought.  Nobody but us can fight this back, individually.  Turn off the phone, e-mail, TV, the cacaphony of social and global noise, and do one thing, such as read a book, cook a meal, go for a walk, plant a seed, or write a paragraph.  I have been thinking about only this for 10 min now, and it feels good to let the mind focus...

sunset over Palo Verde marshlands

Some of the best quotes (read the article for more, and then become a nonconformist so you can help change the world):

"America now has the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen. What we son't have are people who can think for themselves; people who can formulate a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things; people with vision."

"We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. "

"Thinking isn’t about learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information. It requires concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea of your own.  You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube. "

“Your own reality—for yourself, not for others.” Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own reality. Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and the New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts. You are marinating yourself in the conventional wisdom. In other people’s reality: for others, not for yourself. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice, whether it’s yourself you’re thinking about or anything else. 

Read the whole article by William Deresiewicz here
after the sun went down

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