Thursday, March 7, 2013

Which Direction Do You Think?


Recently, I was giving this some meditation time and wanted to share my thoughts on this topic.

All my life I have been a forward thinker.


I like to plan everything out and know what I am going to be doing at all times. I have never liked surprises and detest surprise parties thrown in my honor. When driving I am always looking ahead and calculating all of the possible scenarios ahead of me, as I feel this makes me a safer driver because I have a plan “just in case.” In fact, I do this in every situation so I am very seldom caught off guard. In the past people have seen me thrown into seemingly surprising situations and yet I didn’t act surprised; because I wasn’t.

During my years in sales/customer service I used this technique before and during client interaction. Running through every possible scenario before the interaction and trying to move the conversation like a chess game (or in my case, a checkers game). Once you have played out every conceivable action/reaction scenario you can communicate smoothly and avoid dialogue pitfalls.

Growing up in the Pentecostal church is probably where I developed these techniques initially.


As a child, starting around 4 years old, my mother had my older brother and me singing in a trio with her at church services. For those of you with no apostolic Pentecostal background let me explain, this meant at any given service at any given time you could be called up in front of a packed house to sing. As a little guy, I began to consider the possibilities every time we arrived at church that way I didn’t accidently embarrass me or my mother.

Later in life, I was being used to lead song service and then emcee the complete service and eventually became a preacher. The phrase “be instant in and out of season” was used too much and incorrectly, too often.

As a young man of nineteen years, I tackled a psychotic job of selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners door to door.


It was during those improvisational situations at a stranger’s door, that these skills were again honed to perfection. For the rest of my career to date, including door to door insurance sales and car sales among many other things, I have always thought in this manner.

Now you might be thinking that I am saying, as a self proclaimed “forward thinker”, that “backward thinkers” aren’t as good or can’t operate/functional as well. Let me explain to you how I really see this.

The Heavenly Father, in His infinite kindness and wisdom blessed me with a “backward thinker.” That might sound strange after my over hyping the “forward thinkers” technique above, but here’s the truth.

Backward thinkers are reflective and spend a lot of time reminiscing. They seldom rush at their work and will check and recheck the job. They often rehash conversations and sometimes develop unfounded fears after reconsidering what they have said and done. They generally compare EVERYTHING to something else that is already familiar to their lives. That makes it difficult for them to make new friends because if the newcomer resembles, talks like, looks like or even smells like someone unfavorable from their past, the newcomer is unknowingly off on the wrong foot already. If they hear new music or see a new movie, they quickly do a mental scan of their memory data bank and find something of like kind to attach this new experience to, then, and only then, they can relax and enjoy the new thing.

These might not sound like a kind assessment overall, but here is why I love “backward thinkers.” All of the traits that a backward thinker possesses counteract or compliment a forward thinking person. The hard part, as a forward thinker, was finally realizing that I needed to tap the resources given to me and quit messing things up with the “my way or the highway” attitude.

For you see, when a forward thinker rushes in were fools often fear to tread, the backward thinker says, “Let’s think this through.” If I had listened to my backward thinker more the first twenty years or so, I would have more friends, a better looking resume, be healthier, have fewer scars and could sleep better at night. Because I am always fifteen steps past the present, my beautiful backward thinker is always ready to pull on me so hard that I get back to the present.

So, I am what I am and I don’t believe Abba made me defective; I am learning to partner with my backward thinker and in doing so, I hope to be a better me.

(I love you Margaret)