Just a week ago, we wrapped up the third module of the current class of THNK’s Creative Leadership program. Among the group of participants is Jillian York. She is an activist-observer in the global fight for free expression and following her return, she wrote this blog post.
Sometimes it takes a strong period of reflection to realize you’re learning something. That sounds obvious, but I (we, perhaps?) spend so much of my days in rapidfire communication, flitting between e-mail(s), Twitter, blog(s), from account to account, from work to personal, until it all blends together. When you’ve lived your life that way for a long time, reflection becomes something for which you have to carve out time, carefully, thoughtfully. It’s something I do in strange but solitary moments, often on airplanes and other dark places.
THNK (which I wrote a little bit about back in September), on the other hand, is days upon days of reflection. It’s starting your day, sometimes exhausted both mentally and physically, and trudging in from the snow, and immediately smiling because someone shouts an inside joke at you or gives you a hug. It’s talking with some of the world’s greatest young minds over vegetarian panda* soup and vegetarian tuna sandwiches. It’s getting to sit at a table with a Dutch princess or a former Costa Rican president or a preeminent sci-fi writer. It’s simultaneously loving and hating your project team member, then coming up a series of ridiculous ideas that, often suddenly, morph into something amazing. It’s genuinely feeling a sense of longing for that group of new friends after you’ve left THNK Home and Amsterdam behind for “real life.”