Inside Out

Thinkers and leaders

ThinkingWe talked a while ago about not looking for existing solutions; instead ponder over a problem for few days, bring out your independent thinking, your creativity and (at the least, if you decide to look for solution) a perspective to appreciate the solutions/implementations. Overall it’s an exercise in thinking - creating value, not merely consuming it.

[William Deresiewicz](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Deresiewicz), in his address ([Solitude and leadership](http://theamericanscholar.org/solitude-and-leadership/), October 2009) to plebe class at Westpoint Military Academy (spoiler alert, this is where you go and read the essay in entirety :)), brings up a crucial perspective to thinking: that of a Leader. (Emphasis in the quotes are mine)

> ...what makes him a thinker—and a leader—is precisely that he is able > to **think things through for himself**. And because he can, he has > the confidence, the courage, to argue for his ideas even when they > aren’t popular. Even when they don’t please his superiors. Courage: > there is physical courage, which you all possess in abundance, and > then there is another kind of courage, moral courage, the **courage to > stand up for what you believe**.

Sit over the idea. Get your thinking hat on!

> I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. **My > first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already > heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom**. It’s only > by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all > the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original > idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw > connections, take me by surprise. > >

> ... You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating. > >

> ... Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own > reality.

How not to do it? :)

> Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and even 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

Later in the [article](http://theamericanscholar.org/solitude-and-leadership/), he puts forth the importance of Solitude. Please read it. Let me wind up with a dialogue from [Peaceful Warrior](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0438315/), 2006 (amazing movie, watch it!).

> **Socrates:** Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what's good > for you. They don't want you to find your own answers, they want you > to believe theirs. > >

> **Dan Millman:** Let me guess, and you want me to believe yours. > >

> **Socrates:** No, I want you to stop gathering information from the > outside and start gathering it from the inside.

*Photo credit: [Thinking by Sidereal, on Flickr](http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidereal/349496270/ "Thinking by Sidereal, on Flickr")*