Thomas Edison said that people will go to great lengths to avoid thinking. My Dad quoted this often and told me that learning to think would give a person a great edge in the world. I have always enjoyed thinking. In fact, it is probably one of my favorite pastimes. As a youth, I spent endless hours lying on the lawn looking at the stars. I wasn’t wearing earbuds, or checking my email, or watching for my smart phone to light up. I just lay there, looking and pondering. I have raised enough kids to know that the younger generation struggles with being able to just sit quietly, without distraction, and think. One told me once they couldn’t do their homework without music playing in their ears. I found myself pondering the implications of that comment.
I have been reading lately about the difficulty young people have that have grown up in a video game, smart phone, Facebook, Instagram, action-packed movie world. They are addicted to non-stop stimulation. One psychologist stated that young people today have lost the ability to deal with boredom. The more I contemplated that idea, the more I realized the value that can come from occasionally doing nothing. There is an old Wall Street saying that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Wall Street may be on to something here since anyone who spends time with young people today understands their inability to be still, to be quiet, to just sit and do nothing. How can a generation so addicted to stimulation ever be able to sit quietly without distraction and think through a serious lifetime investment plan?
As we moved into our new office I was one day, with my son Jared, installing speaker wires for our conference room. A friend stopped by and jokingly asked how much money I was making as a sound technician and whether it might be more profitable to hire an audio person to install the speakers. I told my friend that if every decision was about money, I would probably spend every minute in the office and pay someone to do everything else. But I told him it wasn’t always about money, that it was good to mow the lawn, paint the garage and even install speaker wires once in a while. I felt it would do us some good to put away the smart phones and internet for a while and enjoy some quiet time climbing in a dusty attic while thinking and talking about nothing in particular.
I plan to spend more time addressing the investing needs of the rising generation. For a start I will offer the simple advice to practice, once in a while, doing nothing. Learn how to be at peace with boredom. Learn how to ponder. Do something daily that allows you to develop those creative skills that can only be found in silence. In short, be one of the few who learns to enjoy the simple act of thinking.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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