Have you ever found the answer to a difficult problem at an incredibly inconvenient time? Do answers come to you while in the shower? Maybe you try to write it in the fogged up glass because you fear the answer might escape you as quickly as it appeared.
Maybe it’s more than just a coincidence that ideas come to you when you’re least prepared to write them down. Other inconvenient times I find inspiration are when I lay down to sleep, when I’m running with my dog Lucy (as pictured above), or hiking in the woods.
In all cases, I’m not prepared to capture my thoughts or write them down. There is one thing most of these moments of inspiration have in common; I’m disconnected from the distractions of the outside world.
I’m in the zone and my mind can focus solely on the issue at hand. Gone are the updates on what the latest celebrity is doing, the fluctuations of the stock market, or the worry of work.
When do you do your best thinking?
The shower is a great place to think because you can drown out all outside noise. The flow of the water creates a natural ‘white noise’ that allows you to finally hear your thoughts.
I used to run while listening to music because it kept me going and took my mind away from the pain of running. However, I realized I didn’t think much because the music filled the gaps where my thoughts were supposed to occur.
It’s not until I unplug myself from the music that I can think. There are some forms of music such as classical that allow you to think, but most of them don’t.
It’s very important to set aside time each day to think. Turn off the TV, the radio, and find a quiet spot. No offense to your family, friends, and other loved ones, but you can’t think when you’re in the middle of conversation.
Television is probably the best strategy to prevent your mind from working. As Daniel Lapin says in Thou Shall Prosper, TV is bad because “the picture on the screen deprives you of the freedom to create within your mind.” You can only focus on so many things at once; realistically, you can only truly focus on one thing at a time.
I know that if I turn the TV on and start flipping channels, I’ll eventually find something that sucks me in and keeps me watching. I try to stay away from it in the first place so I don’t get caught in the trap. It’s amazing how this works.
In fact, just last night I started watching “Livin for the Apocalypse” on TLC. It was entertaining and mostly took a comical angle on the strategies some doomsdayers are using to prepare for the end (which is very near in their minds). If you don’t like this article, you can blame it on that show due to my lack of focus!
Try to turn the TV off so you can focus. You need to be in a quiet place without distractions. I can’t even focus on thinking while driving because I apparently need to focus on the road. Don’t be afraid to spend time with your own mind. The more direct and structured you are with your thinking time, the more productive you will be.
What should you think about?
Are you trying to figure out what you want to do with your life? Maybe you need to find the answer to a difficult work question. Allow yourself to think about it! When you start, you may have no clue what you should think about. However, as you allow your mind some time, you’ll start to find some direction.
I use some of my time to think about YLTL and the type of blogs I want to write. In the course of a normal day, I might think of one new topic if I’m lucky. However, when I take Lucy out for a walk and purposefully think of new blog topics, I’ll usually come up with 2-3.
The mind is the most powerful force on the planet. Are you using yours or are you afraid to be alone with it?