Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The Holy Grail of Time Spent

Some of the greatest things in life come in stillness and reflection.


I can think of few things leaders should value in life more than these. Who wouldn't want more creative ideas, more connection with God, deeper thoughts, and greater learning and development. It's almost like stillness and reflection are the holy grail for time spent. And yet, I rarely do it. It's hard. It's awkward. It seems, ironically, like a waste of time. One of my mentors in college, Dr. Neal Schnoor, continually reminded me that time is the only resource that can't be replaced. There is no return policy. In that context, I think leaders would be apt to use it more wisely.

"A quick pace is a comfortable default that takes little effort."

If I am honest here, sometimes I'm scared of being quiet. As a leader, my busyness is a crutch - a security blanket. A quick pace is a comfortable default that takes little effort. Busy is the path of least resistance. It doesn't require that I grow, reflect, learn, dream or risk. It doesn't require me to listen to God. It's avoidance I suppose. It's also selfish on some level. It's robbing the others who depend on me of my best.

As leaders, there is a constant demand on our time. Those of us trying to build things and add value to the world always have something else. There is always one, or twelve, more items on the list. It would seem that becoming a better leader so obviously requires time spent in reflection and rejuvenation. Somehow it never seems that obvious.

"Once I've filled life with stuff and busyness, I use them as my excuse for a lack of meaningful work."

So, if you're anything like me, why avoid spending time in still, quiet, reflection? Why avoid rest and rejuvenation? After all, nothing worth doing is easy. That may be the ultimate indictment of busyness. Busyness is easy - few have to work hard at getting busy. Filling life with "stuff" - that's easy too. Once I've filled life with stuff and busyness, I use them as my excuse for a lack of meaningful work. And what comes of it all? Stress. Burnout. Frustration. I've got my "badge of honor" though - I'm working hard! I'm busy…

What would happen if leaders wisely invested time in stillness and reflection? I know for me, I lead and work better when I make that investment. I learn more, grow faster, and keep my priorities in check.

Quiet reflection may very well be the holy grail of time spent.

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