If you are like me then you’ve probably heard at some point in your life, if not throughout your life, “you think too much”. Seriously. People have actually said that to me and I’ve actually taken it personally! What I realize now is:
- at least some of the time they may have meant that I was “obsessing” or worrying too much and didn’t have the language for it or;
- my questions and thinking were moving them out of their comfort zone and they didn’t want to be moved!
Since I returned to school a few years ago, it’s been so interesting to be in a class and actually “know” the subject that is being taught because I’ve lived it! I really take so much for granted regarding the concepts and beliefs that I have been exposed to in my life from all kinds of people and perspectives. Last week, for example, in my political science class the lecture was on narco-terrorism. Most of what our professor taught us I had been exposed to such as the power and impact of the cartels in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. but after reading some of the weekly postings of fellow students in our chat room, where we share one thing about a weekly lecture that stood out for us, I was pretty amazed at how much some of the students had not been aware facts such as gun smuggling, illegal immigration, sex trafficking etc. I think about these things a lot and ponder on how to resolve these issues. Luckily, I have no one in my life who tells me that I think too much these days.
I love hearing different opinions and perspectives from around the world on various issues. For example, it wasn’t until I frequented an eclectic group of people from all kinds of faith traditions that I learned in some cultures, such as a friend from Uganda who is Sufi Muslim, there is no word for “I” in their writings. Somewhere along the way I also realized how being an American from the U.S. has shaped my thinking. Which is not to say it is good or bad but rather it is probably more balanced to recognize how your thoughts, beliefs and opinions are colored, shaded and influenced from your environment.
A coaching friend on LinkedIn posed a question recently that asked us if we were doing what we wanted or had we settled and if not/why not? For the first time ever as a Coach I had a completely different response to this question because my thinking on the subject has changed. Whereas when I first began coaching in 2001, I came from a very hopeful and enigmatic belief that all of us could be doing what we truly loved to do as our career. Fast forward a decade later and my position has expanded to consider that not all people may even want to do what they truly love to do as a career. As hard as it is for those of us raised in an industrialized, techno-sized, capitalized society, believe it or not, there are some people out there who don’t see what they do (job, career, contribution to their family) as the end all be all of their life. In other words, they may happily go about doing what they need to do to put a roof over their heads and hopefully, find some level of enjoyment in the process but then when their day is done, they go off and enjoy thoroughly the rest of their life. The other 8-10 hours of not working.
It’s good to think about your thoughts now and then and to shine a light on them for inspection and even more important than that is to find ways of exposing yourself and your thoughts to other cultures and ways of thinking while keeping an open heart and mind to new ways of thinking. Who knows, it could lead us to a new way of understanding the world that we didn’t even know was possible.
Please jump in and share you experience and view points on that! Would love to get the discussion flowing!