LESSONS FROM HISTORY: ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS A SLOW THINKER
(The following is an excerpt from the CD “Lincoln’s Wisdom”
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D. (You can obtain this CD at Amazon.com or at www.presidentlincoln.com)
“I was always a slow thinker. Billy Herndon, my long-time law partner, said I even walked like I needed oiling. He said if I tried to think too fast, the machinery jammed.
If you’re a slow thinker, there’s no reason to be embarrassed about it. There are advantages. You make fewer mistakes. Making decisions too quickly can be a great folly. Wisdom is more important than brilliance.
I was a slow thinker, but I was a deliberate, methodical thinker.
To use an analogy from surveying—I was a surveyor for a while—‘I was never happy with an idea until I had bounded it north, and bounded it south, and bounded it east, and bounded it west.’
Or to use an analogy from farming, I wanted to dig up an idea and examine it by the roots.
When I was a mere child, I used to get irritated when anybody talked to me in a way that I could not understand. I’d sometimes lie in my bed at night and turn the words over and over in my mind, until I thought I understood them, and then I would put the idea in language plain enough, as I thought, for any boy I knew to comprehend.
My son Willie thought in the same manner that I did. People said Willie was like me in many ways, and the way we processed ideas was one of them.
Once in the White House, I put a problem to Willie. He was silent for quite a while. Then he smiled and gave me his answer. I told a guest who was present: ‘I know every step of the process by which that boy arrived at his solution. It is by just such slow methods that I attain results.’”
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