Here in the US, we celebrate Independence Day every July 4th to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, signifying that the US would no longer be a part of the British Empire. This state of independence has been a cause of celebration for over 241 years.
We thrive on being independent in other aspects of our lives as well. The self-made man or woman is celebrated. The person who climbs Mt. Everest by themselves is celebrated. So is the rower who makes his way in his dingy around the world or the woman who swims the English channel - all are celebrated as independent heroes.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
--- Steve Jobs
And, so is the business leader who comes up with the sure winning strategy for their business. This independent thinking is another cause for celebration. Unfortunately, setting aside the time to think independently is more of a luxury today than it used to be. We may meet with others to brainstorm or do some reading or listen to a TED talk presentation online, but to sit quietly and think is becoming a bygone tool in business.
"If I look confused it is because I am thinking."
--- Samuel Goldwyn
Randy Pope is the pastor of Perimeter Church, a large Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. He tells the story that as a child, he walked into a room to find his Dad staring at the ceiling with his eyes closed. When he asked his Dad what he was doing, he replied, "I'm thinking," then put his head up again, closed his eyes and continued thinking.
The memory of that incident stayed with Pastor Pope to this day and to this day he takes time once a week to just think. Some people believe that to sit and think is akin to an Andy Griffith episode where he rocks in a chair on the porch pealing an apple, doing absolutely nothing. But thinking, truly thinking, requires more energy that many believe. It is not mindless thought, but actually contemplating an issue, problem, or idea and looking at it from various angles.
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
--- Albert Einstein
In business, there are always problems. Some are small and some are large, and some are created by off-the-cuff thinking. When we make rash decisions we pay the penalty. Independent thinking generates solutions and ideas that become profitable. The key is getting alone, when not totally exhausted, in a quiet place and simply meditating on the business. The most difficult part of this exercise is quieting the mind and pushing out all existing problems or issues that may carry you to anger or worry if dwelled on for too long.
Even if you don't think you can carve out even one minute for thinking, just try it anyway. Force yourself to turn off the phone and all contact and think. Try it for 15 minutes the first time. Set your watch and stay quiet for 15 minutes. If you don't begin thinking on the business, that is okay because the next time you try it, you will. Make it a habit. For example, every Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 10:15, you will spend time in quiet thinking.
"Diversity: the art of thinking independently together."
--- Malcolm Forbes
Another cool trick is to find a time when you can shut down your business and have all of your team members sit and think independently. It could be on the same problem or they think about anything related to the business. Do this on a regular basis and watch the ideas flow. Then, throw a party at the end of the month and celebrate your independence.
Understanding Industrial Printing
By Dan Marx
Much of the innovation in our industry, particularly as it relates to digital technologies, is occurring not in the sign and graphics segment, but the industrial segment, where developers are working on 'better, smarter, faster' imaging solutions.
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"Dead People's Things For Sale"
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