Taking Another Look: Leading Minds on Reflection Part 2
In part two of this series, Tom Asacker philosophizes about the nature of reflection. His insights help us to understand that until we start to see our connection to reality, core changes rarely happen. Have we given the proper consideration to the impact of what we do? Then, Brian Orchard emphasizes the need to slow down enough to absorb what we are experiencing. He talks about the need to take a second look to gain understanding and the importance of getting counsel in decision making.
Tom Asacker, author, speaker and professional catalyst:
I’ve noticed something interesting of late. I’ve been spending more time reflecting on my work than passionately involved in the doing of it. To an outsider, it may look like idleness. In fact, history informs me that it’s a necessary prelude to meaningful change, to boldness and growth.
Our work should be designed to move us forward, toward a worthy ideal, meaning, and a better life. But in order to get there, we must occasionally pause from its narcotic effect and critically evaluate its impact on our happiness and well-being, and its resulting influence on our community and environment. We must sit quietly and reflect.
Reflection is not daydreaming. Reflection is imaginative inquiry; it’s an internal dialogue that asks, Am I making a difference? Is this the best that I can do? Will people be advanced by my efforts? Will my children be proud of my actions? Yes, there is boldness in action. But we must follow action with quiet reflection for that boldness to remain relevant and vibrant.
Elbert Hubbard wrote, “The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.” Reflection is the path to progress. Imaginative reflection breaks the powerful grasp of inertia—the desire to stay the course regardless of the impact on our lives—and moves us courageously towards our higher potential.
Brian Orchard, pastor:
This quote from the Guardian summarizes for me, where we are at: “Although, because of the Internet, we have become very good at collecting a wide range of factual tidbits, we are also gradually forgetting how to sit back, contemplate, and relate all these facts to each other. And so, as Carr writes, "we're losing our ability to strike a balance between those two very different states of mind. Mentally, we're in perpetual locomotion".
From my experience as a minister, I have found that an issue is rarely understood well by the first exposure to it. Our first response is usually weighted by whoever presented the issue. It takes time and thought to slowly come to a more complete understanding. The value of reflection in this case allows for a deeper understanding to be obtained by thinking about the issue and allowing it to be seen from a number of angles.
There are two biblical principles that to me, support reflection. First, Proverbs 18:17 states, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” We all have the tendency to accept the first version of what we hear, but the concept of “searching” carries the idea of talking and asking questions, but also thinking about the situation and the reconsidering of fundamental assumptions.
The second is simply the whole idea of seeking counsel. This must mean a certain amount of reflection and counsel has a strong bearing on decision making.
Devaluing reflection while expecting constant growth and innovation is nonsensical. It’s only when we step away from the onslaught of the day that a new direction arises (good or bad). By never stepping away and, instead, insisting on constant connectivity, you can’t be sure if what you are working on will prove you to be relevant in the future.
—Daniel Patrick Forrester, Consider
More in this Series:
Taking Another Look: Leading Minds on Reflection Part 4
Taking Another Look: Leading Minds on Reflection Part 3
Taking Another Look: Leading Minds on Reflection Part 1
Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization
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