The Forest and the Trees

I tend to be a very action-oriented person. I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds like a good approximation of my reality.

I’ve recently noticed that I’m continually saying things such as, “Yes, this IS happening,” or “No, that’s NOT happening,” or even, “Let’s MAKE this happen.” As if sheer force of will alone is enough to determine the future.

Generally, I think being action-oriented is a good thing. There are, after all, many things that need to be acted upon.

But there’s a danger in this, too. The danger of diving too deep into the weeds, of focusing on the tactic not the strategy, of neglecting thinking in the face of doing.

I’ve blogged every weekday for the past two weeks as I participated in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies. At lunch time, I’d run back to my office and ask myself – of all the thoughts jostling around in my head, which seemed the most compelling, the most coherent?

It wasn’t always easy to pick out the line of thinking that could be quickly translated into a blog post, but there was always something there to choose from. Today, after a staff meeting and a 2 hour conference call to kick off my first day back to normal life, lunch time rolled around and I stopped to ask myself what I should post about.

All I could think of was my half-formulated to-do list. All I could think of was action.

Now, to be fair, today was my first day back and I am definitely feeling wiped out after the last two weeks. But I’d like to continue blogging and using this a venue to process my thoughts.

So this is the challenge to me: to make time for the thinking as well as the doing. To appreciate the forest as well as the trees.

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