The One Time I Agreed with Newt Gingrich–Somewhat

“To have a major breakthrough in policy, you have to be able to stop and think.”  In today’s The New York Times, Newt Gingrich was quoted as saying this to justify taking a two-week cruise to Greece with his wife shortly after announcing his run for the presidency.

He’s correct about the necessity to stop and think all right. In these days of constant connection and information overload, time to think is at a premium.  But all the research shows that unless we take breaks so we can ponder, mull, and integrate all the information that’s coming at us, we’ll never make creative leaps.

I don’t think we need to take two-week vacations to do this, however.  Short break-periods during the day are helpful.  Even if we would just give ourselves a few moments to think things over after meetings (before checking our messages); or if we left the radio off for a few minutes on our way into work to organize our thinking for the day; or if we waited a few minutes before  starting that self-help tape on the way home in order to give ourselves a chance to get perspective on what happened during the day, we’d benefit a great deal.

The brain is marvelous information-processing device.  It’s just that we are allowing ourselves less and less time to use that device to process so much more input.

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