First of all, you mustn’t confuse a “slow thinker” with its two cousins: double thinkers (able to keep two trains of thought alive at the same time, leading to abrupt changes in conversation) or slow readers/creative thinkers (able to develop unique trains of thought as they slowly absorb the words they are reading).
No, slow thinkers just take their time organizing new information.
According to Justin Locke, the author of Principles of Applied Stupidity, “. . . when people scowl at you and tell you are thinking too slowly for their taste, take it as a compliment . . . It means you are being responsible to yourself. It means you are not letting them control you, intimidate you, or boss you around. It means you are commanding the pace of yourself and of the group, and you are not letting fear rule your thinking.”
We’ve all been in a tour group that pokes along while we wait for a straggler to catch up. We’ve driven on a two-lane winding highway where a long, long line of cars follows a slow-moving lead car. In every case, according to Justin Locke, the slowest person has the most control. The fastest people must change and adjust to adapt to the pace, but the slowest person has enormous control and everyone around them must adjust to them.
Fast people who honk or shout “Hurry up! Hurry up!” are trying to manipulate the behavior of the slowest. Fast people who accuse slow thinkers of stupidity are just trying to intimidate the slow thinker into adjusting to their own fast pace by name calling. However, if you’re a fast thinker dealing with a slow thinker, it’s important to understand that intelligence has nothing to do with it.
Bottom line: fast thinkers are forced to adjust; slow thinkers are in control. In fact, slow thinkers believe they are right to be careful, methodical, and uninfluenced by fear. They honestly believe most fast thinkers are rash, undisciplined, and prone to making mistakes.
So if you’re a fast thinker and, like Justin Locke says, “the idea that you can think faster than someone else . . . makes you smarter is very hard to prove,” welcome to my world. Just like the slowest driver controls the speed on a two-lane mountain road, my slow-thinking companion controls the pace.
Retirement is an opportunity to slow down and take time to notice the roses. So it’s all right that I learn to lay off the horn and let my slow-thinking companion set the pace down the two-lane highway of our retirement, admiring the scenery as we go.