Silence is Golden, part one

I was in London the week all U.K. flights were cancelled due to the ash caused by the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. I’ve been to London many times and this time I was struck by how much more quiet it was without 3000 jet take-offs and landings each day. It was amazing.

Today I read this passage in Sam Keen’s book In the Absence of God:

“The absence of silence makes it almost impossible to appreciate the toll chatter and noise has taken on us…we literally can’t hear ourselves think.”

When I facilitate creative thinking sessions, I encourage participants to spend time thinking about ideas before they enter into brainstorming or other techniques that involve group participation. This is a simple request, but it is not easy. We’re used to developing ideas by bouncing them off of other people or listening to what they have to say to be inspired.

Yet the ideas we develop alone, in the deep silence of our being, are our most authentic ideas. And when it’s time to share ideas, the ideas we’ve authored become a golden gift to the team.

When you’re alone and not in a team situation, occasionally it’s worth turning off the TV or the radio or the iPod and sit in silence. You’ll be trading stimulation for inspiration.

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