We laughed out loud when we saw Emily Flakes great cartoon in the January 8th edition of the New Yorker, on the heels of our taking the last week of 2017 off to reflect and retreat. We were so swept away by “doing nothing”, we completely forgot about feeding Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, whose traffic is essential to Improvised Life’s well-being.
We realized what a remarkable feeling it was to not be thinking about the great social media machine. Life became more spacious. We were struck by how refreshed we felt.
Soon after, Quartz’s In Praise of Slow Thinking in the Internet Age by Ephrat Livni arrived in our Inbox, about the internet’s perpetual call to action, information, opinion. We were heartened by the idea of “slow thinking”: making time to
…step out of action, for hours, days, or weeks, to read books and contemplate other peoples’ thoughts.
Barak Obama maintained a practice of reading a book for an hour a day during his presidency, a practice which helped him “slow down and get perspective” amidst the constant barrage of information he received.
By deliberately stepping away from fast-paced communication and contemplating alternate views expressed in a slow form, books, he ”maintain[ed] his balance” while leading a nation for eight years.
Business giants like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have similar routines. Actor Bill Murray famously can only be reached by leaving a phone message, not directly. Writes Livni:
Slow thinking is not just wise —it’s a revolutionary act right now.
It really doesn’t take much to catalyze slow thinking, as we found in that magic week “out”. We just need to make time to step out of the action…
Even a few hours can do wonders.
Cartoon by Emily Flake is available at The New Yorker Cartoon Bank