Friday, November 07, 2008

Thoughtfulness

thoughtful |ˈθôtfəl|

adjective
• absorbed in or involving thought
• showing consideration for the needs of other people
• showing careful consideration or attention


On the night the first African American President of the United States was elected, hopes were beyond high for his acceptance speech. We had learned much of the man over the last two years, his policies, his background, his hopes for the future, and the thing that stuck out most for everyone was what a wonderful orator he was. So it was that when Barack Obama stepped onto the stage and crowds around the world cheered, the anticipation of his following words was palpable.

What he did next surprised some. The man who had rallied millions with his rousing orations, spoke soberly, calmly about America's future. Even the repeated rhetoric of his now signature phrase, "Yes we can", was spoken quietly, and plainly stated each time. No rising to a crescendo, no final point delivered, each word punched as if it was its own sentence. No. He spoke of the challenge ahead, of this not being an end but a beginning. Of a need for everyone to work together.

In his first press conference today he spoke of a need for "deliberate haste" in forming his cabinet. Of an understanding that speed was required, but not at the expense of putting careful consideration into the decision making process.

And that is what has inspired this particular blog post. Oh there are many things I could write about today that this man has inspired, not only in me, but around the world. But this particular issue is rather near and dear to me. It is possibly not quite as grand seeming, but it is of incredible importance, at least, in my opinion.

There is a word I have found myself repeating more and more these days. You have probably read it in many of my posts, typically the posts in which I offer what advice I can on the various industries in which I am involved.

And that word is "thoughtful".

I have always firmly believed in this idea of thoughtfulness. Though I must admit to having as passionate displays of emotion as the next person (probably at times even greater than the next person), the concept of thinking things through has always been one of the utmost importance to me.

Being thoughtful encompasses so many wonderful ideas: empathy, intuition, logical reasoning, but most of all it represents just sitting back for a moment and taking pause. Not rushing to any decision in the heat of the moment.

Thoughtfulness is understanding subtext. It is not just reading a law, but interpreting it. Understanding why something exists in the first place. It is looking at the submission guidelines for an agent and understanding why that agent felt she needed to create them. It is understanding the rules of writing, why they are there, and how they help make a story stronger. And in this understanding comes an ability to see where the rules were meant to be broken, how and why.

Thoughtfulness is being the devil's advocate. It is understanding another perspective, no matter how much you may disagree. It is being empathetic to another's problems no matter how distant from your own. And forming decisions based on all the facts.

It is listening to the opinions of others, and not dismissing them as foolhardy no matter how much they may appear as such to you initially.

It is thinking.

There is a danger, of course, in too much thinking. There is always the danger of inaction. But in my opinion the truly thoughtful people out there understand that there is a time for thought, and a time of doing. That there is a time to be careful and a time to be spontaneous. To be moderate, to over indulge. I once told a friend, "Everything in moderation," and she added onto that: "including moderation". I really love that idea.

No one is perfect, and no one will make all the right decisions. We have yet to know how well or poorly Obama will do in office, and I would prefer not to make any judgments quite yet (considering he isn't exactly even the President yet). But I would like to offer up the suggestion that at least in this we could try to follow in the example he has set. I truly hope the time ahead of us is one of consideration and intelligence. Of empathy and understanding. Of thoughtfulness.

Thoughtfulness.

It even takes some thought to say it. You really have to use your whole mouth to articulate it clearly.

Good word that.

6 comments:

Heidi the Hick said...

well said!

Dawn Anon said...

Thoughtfulness.

Good word that, indeed!

ChristaCarol said...

Thanks for passing it on :)

Stop Smoking said...

Beautifully articulated!

Melanie Avila said...

Beautiful post.

I try to be thoughtful in my actions and it thrills me to finally have a president who will do the same.

RW said...

One reason "thoughtful" is so important, I think, is that it is a pre-condition for real responsibility. Without thoughtfulness, you get the kinds of "let 'er rip" and "mistakes were made" we've been putting up with. It's a kind of superstition.