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Reclaiming Time To Think
June 21, 2002

"The test of pleasure is the memory it brings." —Jean-Paul Richter


The Alliance of Work/Life Professionals May 2002 newsletter was an especially creative one, featuring many perspectives on time. In the lead article, organizational consultant Margaret Wheatley talked about the importance of reclaiming our time to think. In part she commented...

"Thinking is the place where intelligent actions begin. We pause long enough to look more carefully at a situation, to see more of its character, to think about why it's happening, to notice how it's affecting us and others. Paulo Friere used critical thinking as a non-violent approach to revolutionary change. First in Brazil, and then in many poor countries around the world, he taught poor people how to think about their lives and the forces that were impoverishing them. Nobody believed that exhausted and struggling poor people could become intelligent thinkers. But it is easy for people to develop this capacity when they see how thinking can save their life and the lives of those they love.

"Don't expect anybody to give you the time to think. You will have to claim it for yourself. No one will give it to you because thinking is always dangerous to the status quo. Those benefiting from the present system have no interest in your new ideas. In fact, your thinking is a threat to them. The moment you start thinking, you'll want to change something....

"There is no distance between thinking and acting when the ideas mean something to us. When we look thoughtfully at a situation and understand its destructive dynamics, we act to change it. Whenever we think and develop ideas that can change our lives, we act...

"Most of us don't have to risk life and death daily, but we may be dying a slow death. If we feel we're changing in ways we don't like, or seeing things in the world that make us feel sorrowful, then we need to think about this. We need time to think about what we might do and where we might start to change things. We need time to develop clarity and courage. If we want our world to be different, our first act needs to be reclaiming time to think. Nothing will change for the better until we do that."

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