How often in our lives have we heard the excuse “sorry, but I didn’t think”?

“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” That was a popular poem when I was a child.

The second line would be even more appropriate these days if it read “no time to stop and think” – pity it doesn’t rhyme.

Today we are obsessed with snap decisions and instant communication, never pausing or too lazy to weigh the pros and cons of our knee-jerk actions, or consider other viewpoints.

Rehearsed opinions

On social media, we club together with friends and allies, rehearsing our opinions and arguments on those with like views, not caring for considered and informed judgements. 

Yet the gospel truth learned from 17 years attending debates in the House of Lords is that there is always another side to any argument and invariably it has merit.

Ever wondered why both the Government and Opposition seem to be constantly changing their minds on policy?

Regardless, media comment and Twitter exchanges tend to be very black and white, when reality is at least fifty shades of grey.

Ever wondered why both the Government and Opposition seem to be constantly changing their minds on policy?

Is it conceivable they have not applied enough thought before announcing it?

Or is thinking out of fashion in Westminster?

Rodin  the thinker

Rodin The Thinker

Lord Kirkham: “Today we are obsessed with snap decisions and instant communication, never pausing or too lazy to weigh the pros and cons of our knee-jerk actions”

On Brexit, much of our so-called liberal press are indulgently seizing every scrap of bad news.

I was a gold standard, 100% Remainer, but no longer dwell on the monster error of the Brexiteers.

I now think positively and embrace the opportunities – whatever they may be.

Not so long ago we were told that bricks-and-mortar retailing was dead, but now even the big online winners want physical stores

In retailing, too, there are no immutable black and white facts.

Not so long ago we were told that bricks-and-mortar retailing was dead, but now even the big online winners want physical stores too.

Is that because they have listened and learned, was the web over-hyped, or is it simply that the grass is always greener by the shop?

When to find time to think?

It’s a question we could all beneficially ponder as we dash headlong through our days

In the years since I sold DFS, the business I founded, I have had the pleasure and made time to think what I might have done better – and there is much.

Which is why I am pleased to be able to advise my children and some former colleagues in their new venture, Fabb Sofas.

Not a DFS mark two, but a design-led business that takes a completely fresh approach to the upholstered furniture market. 

A friend who travels to Australia regularly on business was talking to his predecessor about the speed and comfort of his A380 flight.

His ex-colleague who had made his annual trips Down Under by sea was suitably impressed: “But when do you find time to think?”

It’s a question we could all beneficially ponder as we dash headlong through our days, eyes unwaveringly glued to our phone screens, pressing “send” on emails and tweets before we’ve had time to think and consider the consequences.

Life sadly is short, but not so short that we can’t gather all the information on any issue before making a decision, or sleep on it before announcing it to the world. Think about it.

  • Lord Kirham is the founder of DFS