From the Publisher

THINK: The Lost Art of Thinking

Brian Rowland, Publisher


Here’s how Webster’s dictionary defines “think”: “to use the mind for arriving at conclusions, making decisions, drawing inferences, etc.; reflect; reason.”   

For decades, the IBM Corporation has provided its employees with a beautiful laminate piece for their workspace that has a simple, one-word slogan on it – “THINK.”

It was a motto that CEO Thomas J. Watson brought with him when he joined the company in the early 1900s.

“And we must study through reading, listening, discussing, observing and thinking,” Watson once said. “The trouble with most of us is that we fall down on the latter – thinking – because it’s hard work.”

Watson obviously was on to something. His firm is in the business of developing solutions to business problems – a process requiring brainpower. Because it is a company of thinking individuals, Big Blue continues to be one of the world’s leaders in the art of doing business – and providing solutions so that other firms can do it better.

Unfortunately, today we live in a very stimulated, busy world. Work, children, personal activities, family life, cellphones, iPods, computers, TVs . . . the list goes on – and not one will allow the process side of the brain to perform. They distract, numb or otherwise sidetrack the brain from the ability to execute thought.

When is the last time you set aside some time just to think? In a quiet, uninterrupted environment that will allow the full processing power of the brain to do its thing? I took an informal poll and wasn’t surprised to learn that, of the 20 people I asked, only one was even cognizant of doing it on a planned and regular basis.

Oftentimes we are presented with situations that require action or decision. Sometimes there is not the luxury of time to “think” it through – you must rely on experience and knowledge to make the right choice . . . and hope for the best.

Should time not be of the essence, rather than “shooting from the hip” and making a quick decision, take the time to think and talk it through. Look at all options in an unemotional manner and allow your mind to process it. Trust your instincts and make a decision that is best for all parties concerned. You always will come out ahead in the long run this way.

My practice is to find a two-hour block on a weekend afternoon when I am a bit relaxed and rested. I recline and allow my mind to freefall into thought. Here’s what happens next: The many issues and situations that were moving too fast to deal with during the week begin to play across my mind’s screen. I take the time to run each through the experiential filters of my life and to seek options or solutions. This time also allows me to look at my personal and business life from a big-picture perspective, once again seeking better direction and time to make the best decision possible. Even if the decision was not right, at least I take solace in the fact that I thought it through.

Speaking of thinking, in this issue we bring you The New Establishment 2007, a short list of young professionals poised to shape the future of the Emerald Coast. I had the pleasure of meeting all of these bright young people at the cover photo shoot and know their passion and intelligence will help lead the region to attain future levels of success.

Might I urge you to give some thinking time a chance? The risk and downside is very low, and your upside may be an avenue to a happier, less stressful and – in the long run – more well-balanced life. You deserve it for yourself.