precarious writer

slow thinking

Fri, 8/25/2023

For a long time I considered myself a slow thinker. I felt I wasn't particularly good at thinking on the spot and articulating what I wanted to express — probably one of the reasons I met any semblance of an intellectual interrogation with such trepidation. But I recently came across Derek Sivers' post and found it so relatable:

When someone asks me a deep question, I say,

"Hmm. I don’t know."

The next day, I have an answer. I’m a disappointing person to try to debate or attack. I just have nothing to say in the moment, except maybe "Good point."
Then a few days later, after thinking about it a lot, I have a response.

I'm far more confident in expressing thoughts in text form, but even then, it's rarely an immediate back and forth conversation. I might need several minutes to formulate a response. That's not really applicable in person; you can't exactly sit and stare at someone blankly for seconds while the cogs are turning to gather your thoughts, live conversations don't work that way.

People say that your first reaction is the most honest, but I disagree. Your first reaction is usually outdated; either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s a knee-jerk emotional response to something in your past.

Slow thinking can be more intentioned, and less erratic. Yet, even with this in mind, one sometimes falls into the trap of verbosely answering a question that they later regret when they should have simply pushed it aside until they were ready.