Take Time Out To Confer With Yourself And Tap Your Supreme Thinking Power
Ve usually picture leaders as exceptionally busy people. And they are. Leadership requires being in the thick of things. But while it’s usually overlooked, it is noteworthy that leaders spend considerable time alone, alone with nothing but their own thinking apparatus.
Check the lives of the great religious leaders, and you’ll find each of them spent considerable time alone. Moses frequently was alone, often for long periods of time. So were Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Gandhi-every outstanding religious leader in history spent much time in solitude, away from the distractions of life.
Political leaders, too, those who made lasting names in history for good or bad, gained insight through solitude. It is an interesting question whether Franklin D. Roosevelt could have developed his unusual leadership capacities had he not spent much time alone while recovering from his polio attack. Harry Truman spent much time as a boy and as an adult alone on a Missouri farm.
Quite possibly Hitler would never have achieved power had he not spent months in jail alone, where he had time to construct Mein Kampf, that brilliantly wicked plan for world conquest that 1 the Germans in a blind moment.
Many of the leaders of communism who proved to be so diplomatically skillful-Lenin, Stalin, Marx, and many others-spent time in jail, where they could, without distraction, plan their future moves.
Leading universities require professors to lecture as few as five hours per week so that the professor has time to think. Many outstanding business executives are surrounded all day by assistants, secretaries, telephones, and reports. But follow them around for 168 hours a week and 720 hours a month, and you discover they spent a surprising amount of time in uninterrupted thought.
The point is this: the successful person in any field takes time out to confer with himself or herself. Leaders use solitude to put the pieces of a problem together, to work out solutions, to plan, and, in one phrase, to do their superthinking.
Many people fail to tap their creative leadership power because they confer with everybody and everything else but themselves. You know this kind of person well. He’s the fellow who goes to great lengths not to be alone. He goes to extremes to surround himself with people. He can’t stand being alone in his office, so he goes prowling to see other people. Seldom does he spend evenings alone. He feels a compelling need to talk with others every waking moment. He devours a huge diet of small talk and gossip.
When this person is forced by circumstances to be physically alone, he finds ways to keep from being mentally alone. At times like these he resorts to television, newspapers, radio, telephone, anything that will take over his thinking process for him. In effect he says, “Here, Mr. TV, Mr. Newspaper, occupy my mind for me. I’m afraid to occupy it with my own thoughts.
Mr. I-can’t-stand-to-be-alone shuns independent thought.
He keeps his own mind blacked out. He is, psychologically, scared of his own thoughts. As time goes by, Mr. I-can’t-stand-to-be-alone grows increasingly shallow. He makes many ill-con-sidered moves. He fails to develop firmness of purpose, personal stability. He is, unfortunately, ignorant of the superpower lying unused just behind his forehead.
Don’t be a Mr. I-can’t-stand-to-be-alone.
Remember, the main job of the leader is thinking. And the best preparation for leadership is thinking. Spend some time in managed solitude every day and think yourself to success.