By chasing the instant response, have we lost our ability to truly think?

February 28, 2020

By Narayan Laksham | Forwarded and Edited by Roh Krishnan

Do we still think? Or do we just wait to respond?

In this real-time environment, the one thing that has stuck out to me is a severe lack of thinking time. The ability to deeply postulate on a problem seems a concept of yesteryear. The need to respond “now” has taken over all walks of life — from social media to critical business decisions.

Is this a societal pressure or our desire to be the first to respond? You can decide on what your motivation is.

But what is explicitly evident is that we can see this lack of patience or pausing to think in every aspect of our life.

You may wonder why am I taking up such an archaic topic when we are in a high speed, high touch world. There is a logic to it all my friends. Trust. And perhaps trust, or lack thereof, is a contributor to our necessity to respond with thinking.

With modern technology at everyone’s fingertips, we feel the uncontrolled desire to be instantly responsive. We start panicking if someone is not responding to us in 15 seconds. We are in such a hurry that we forgot to put the directions in the GPS.

Our need for instant gratification is all-encompassing.

We get irritated if someone is not picking up their cell phone

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The biggest help, yet the biggest culprit? Every piece of silver has a touch of grey.

Symptoms and bi-products are many, but can be boiled down to the following:

  • We feel exhausted if someone makes us wait for more than a few minutes
  • We don’t have the patience to listen to any well-thought-out argument
  • All marketing heads are saying no one reads an email longer than a couple of sentences
  • As a writer, that last line irks me the most. So you’re telling me that because no one has the time nor the decency to read past line two, I should wash out and distill the entire message? A message that could be game-changing?
  • Two-minute explainers and 30-second videos have become the normative answer to this “meme” culture.

Trying to stuff every activity in the “Do it Now” or “instant gratification” bucket is causing Attention Disorders across the landscape. We should realize that there are some events where the speed is a crucial part of the game, but “thoughtful pondering” or “intense deliberation” will always be needed to solve complex problems.

I would actually just call that common sense, but alas, here we are.

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Some may see productivity, I see clutter.

This concept is called “isolate” and “share when ready”. It’s not too different from sitting down with a colleague, listening, thinking, and then when your turn comes around, sharing a well-formulated thought. Call it common decency.

In today’s ever-connected world, these concepts are not well appreciated enough, despite having outlined reasons why they ought to be.

You do need time to think, pontificate and deliberate before sharing your thoughts with others. Organizations need to make special efforts to provide this guidance instead of rushing everyone to instantly respond.

I’ll give you an example. We need to re-do the BoardwalkTech website. Is it of high priority? Yes. But we know that if we take our time and spend the proper amount of time postulating, the return will be that much better.

Nothing ever good came easy.


Team Boardwalk

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