When was the last time you did something thoughtful?
Now that we know thoughtfulness can mean anything from kindness to anxiety to engaged thinking, you have probably changed your answer since the first time I asked that. I have made an active effort in this class, through reading against the grain and critical thinking, to understand and improve my knowledge of persuasion. Before understanding what thoughtful truly meant, I thought sitting at my desk for hours on end attempting to read a textbook was wasteful. I thought my anxious, overthinking mind was only detrimental to getting things done and making decisions. This effort to slow things down and pay attention to the details opens a whole other world to a person. Everything is so busy and fast these days that it is hard to even complete the “nice” idea of thoughtfulness, where I attempt to go out of my way to help someone else or even just think of someone else.
The real value of persuasion, and language in general, emerges from this idea of letting yourself think and consider others first. Reading against the grain, slowing down, and critically thinking are good things. Some would say there is a time and place for it, but that time and place is everywhere and it is now. There are so many things you can take into account in order to better yourself as a persuader and an audience member. I ask that you just work on one. The next time your mind wanders with thoughts or ideas, do not think of it as unproductive, but as intentional and active. Do not look at doubts as hindrances but as opportunities. And if you are thinking you should go out of your way to help someone, then do so.
I hope if my exploration on thoughtfulness has done anything, it has engaged you in thinking. Persuasion may be in everything we do, but one thing that is always in everything we do personally (whether we pay attention to them or not) are our thoughts. Use them to your advantage.