I recently read Derek Sivers’ I’m a very slow thinker and the subject resonated with me.
It’s a common belief that your first reaction is the most honest, but I disagree. Your first reaction is usually outdated. Either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s triggering a knee-jerk emotional response to something that happened long ago.
I sometimes dread when I’m asked to go on a call, or have a meeting “right now” to discuss something. My brain might have a decent top speed, but sometimes it’s acceleration is slow. I prefer knowing what the topics are beforehand rather than flying blind.
The main reason for this is my fear of not presenting the best version of myself. The first thing that comes into my head is probably ill-conceived and most definitely influenced by the past.
It can be slightly debilitating. For instance, I put up some shelves a couple of years ago, and I discovered I had more books than expected. The shelves (not designed as book shelving) were going to be overloaded and they started to bow under the load. I could have added additional brackets and been done with it. But, I knew better than listen to the “let’s rush” part of my brain.
I strengthed the shelves last weekend, better late than never, but I should finished that job at least 23 months earlier. I know the job I did at the weekend is better though. There’s slow, and there’s paralysed. I need to find a balance.