Unseen paths: Traveling at the speed of ‘pause’

I’d rather have a well-honed ‘pause’ button than the Staples ‘easy’ button.  Things don’t need to be easy as long as I can take the opportunity to ‘idle’.

One of the biggest obstacles to listening is having your own idea. It’s a lot tougher  to hear someone else when you begin with a conversation preconceived notions instead of a blank slate.

As a self-admitted idea hamster, my biggest daily challenge is listening. Constantly generating ideas about given topics, can make me a poor listener.  That is why I’ve decided to install a ‘pause button’ on my idea engine. This new feature will allow me to fully listen to others BEFORE I cut loose on the topic at hand.

There’s a lot of value in receiving all of the information you can before generating ideas, strategies and plans.  Garbage in, garbage out. If you generate plans based on preconceived notions or assumptions, those plans are more likely to fail.  This is why I’m going to leave my idea engine idling a lot more. Instead of starting conversations with my idea engine reving up, my newly-installed pause button. No matter how excited I am about a given topic, I won’t rush to opinions.  I want to be more contemplative.

I’m also going to listen to someones idea IN ITS ENTIRETY before I engage my own idea engine.  This will work out better for everyone involved.  I’d like to use my skills polishing someone else’s idea to perfection than building the entire thing myself. The end result will be better, more rewarding, and less exhausting.

When you’ve learned to use the pause button, you don’t need to do so much rewinding.


When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Starting today, I’m going to start every conversation I can with a question — and wait until I hear a complete answer — before I start spinning gears. I’m going to make sure than every idea has external input from the beginning instead of generating a multitude of raw, self-absorbed ideas that need to be tested and refined.

With more input, you get more possibilities and a greater possibility for success. The process of generating ideas becomes more efficient and the outcome becomes more interesting, more effective, and more creative.

All it takes is installing something simple and often overlooked:  a pause button.

Let’s make this ‘easy’

Enjoy this popular Easy Button commercial, entitled “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” It stars actor Andrew Patrick Ralston, comedian Nick Thune and Lee Beth Kilgore of the los Angeles based band Yardley.

This post is #14 in a series for #Trust30, a 30-day writing challenge that encourages participants to look within and trust themselves. It’s an opportunity to reflect on ‘now’, and to create direction for the ‘future’. Prompts from inspiring thought-leaders guide participants on the writing journey.