Monday, August 5, 2013

The Art of "Thinking"

Back in the 1980’s, my father’s basketball team had a huge game against one of our conference rivals. The winner would advance to the state tournament. 

Through three quarters the game was tied. We would take the lead, and they would take the lead. However, early in the fourth quarter with 5 1/2 minutes left, we were not playing well, and we found ourselves losing by double digits. The crowd was growing restless and weary. I was sitting in the bleachers behind my father, and I looked at him as he was uncharacteristically just sitting there. He then began to substitute the first team for the second team players. I had never seen him do that before—just sit there. I literally thought he was blowing the game.

The second team played well. When we finally caught the opposing team, my father substituted the first team players back into the game. We eventually took the lead and won the game.

Afterwards, when we were at home, I asked my father why was he just sitting there with 5 1/2 minutes to go in the game while we were losing.
“I was thinking,” he said.

Still, to this day, his answer amazes me. There was so much chaos and the gym was so loud from the crowd noise. Our players were making one mistake after another, and he was “thinking”.

Dad said that he needed to gather his thoughts. In retrospect, I am not surprised by his actions. He is a person who has a preference for analytical thinking, and he does process things by thinking internally. But what a lesson in leadership. In that instance, it worked. I learned a lot about "thinking" from that lesson.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times when things are not going well for me, that I take a step back to “gather my thoughts”. I do this in a myriad of ways. Sometimes I take long drives. Other times I take a long walk in my neighborhood or at Moon Lake; and it works.

There are times I feel like “thinking” is a lost art. Spiritually, the Bible says, “Peace! Be still.”  I don’t want to use this in the wrong context, but I wonder how many people actually take the time to just “be”?

What about you? In times of chaos or turmoil, do you ever just take the opportunity to just “think”?


  1. No. I do not. I use to but have find myself not stepping back. Your words, "Peace! Be still." are the words I needed today. Stepping back is like an art to me or a habit to relearn. Thank you. My day starts off just right today.

  2. I don't do this as often as I need to! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I want to thank both of you for your responses. I'm glad you're reading iLead2Serve. Please continue to let me know your thoughts.