Schultz Hour

George Schultz was secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. He died on what would have been Reagan’s 110th birthday — February 6, 2021 — at the age of 100.

Daniel Pink’s Pinkcast 4.07 was about the Schultz Hour, which is also described in this piece by David Leonhardt. Schultz would carve out an hour of his time each week during which he could only be bothered by either his wife or the president. He would use the time to think big. I decided to give it a try, so I scheduled an hour to think big and the adjacent hour to write a blog about what happened.

As this was my first time, the hour was a little random and haphazard at first. I wrote a list of questions about how I could get more involved in my new town of Decorah, IA. I wondered if there was a group or club I should join or create. Charities and volunteer work also came to mind, and I wondered what kind of volunteer opportunities Decorah had to offer.

I wrote down some of my philosophical tenets, and reflected on how I was satisfying each. If any were being minimally satisfied, I tried to think about how I could fulfill them even more. I wrote down my passions, and which were being attended to and which were on the sidelines while I recover from surgery repairing my quad rupture.

“Was this a bad time to be thinking big?” I thought, as COVID-19 has really put many restrictions on acting on anything that I could think up anyway. I vowed to find something to try that would be outside my comfort zone once we have things under control. At the very least, I thought, I will get some exposure of what exists within my new community and meet a few people along the way.

I want to write a song. I want to write a story.

But not now. The hour concluded with my thoughts going back to the current goal laid out in front of me: my pursuit to become an Associate in the Society of Actuaries (ASA). While I have turned it up a notch, I realized in my hour of thinking that I could be doing so much more, by putting other things aside and devoting a small block of time in the evenings to this pursuit. Thus far, I’ve been squeezing in more of my allowed work hours in for this and calling it good. The end is in sight, and the time devotion in the evenings will only be necessary for less than 2 months.

After my hour was all said and done, I thought it was very beneficial. I believe the time doesn’t necessarily have to be an hour. It could be much less or much more, depending on the direction and tangents of your thoughts. Having them once a week may not be that beneficial for those that don’t have a job like secretary of state. For me, I think these power hours of thinking would be best distributed to fortnightly or once a month. To that end, I’ve scheduled my next one for a fortnight from tonight with a note to decide the matter of frequency then.

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