As humans, we think all the time. We think about needing to eat. Or that we need to push the brake pedal if the light is turning red. There are countless more examples of this type - mundane and undirected - that dominate the percentage of our waking thoughts. Now, I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong with this. We certainly need to eat, and we need to stop our cars at the appropriate time.
However, when was the last time you sat down, calmed your mind, and decided to direct your thoughts toward an idea, issue, or concept you didn't understand or needed to explore further? As part of my nightly ritual, I used to lie in bed and review my day - my decisions, conversations, places I erred, and moments of success. Somewhere along the way, I became to busy to do this, and I believe I'm worse off for it.
Now, I fill my blank moments with audio books, podcasts, or reading on topics like philosophy, apologetics, theology, economics, nutrition, and more. I listen while I'm walking and lifting weights, and I listen while I'm working. I've been a sponge for the last 5 years. And I've learned a vast amount about very important subjects.
But something very key has been missing: Original thought. While I haven't been a parrot, I haven't been a thinker either. Yes, I have seen things others haven't, and I've made connections between ideas that are new and novel. I've also stumbled upon more helpful ways of presenting concepts (though I have a long way to go here). However, something became very apparent to me when I started teaching again last year: I brought very little original thought to the table. I knew certain prominent speakers' views and voices so well I could choose which one I was going to present as on a given day. But, I didn't have my voice as one of those options.