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Posts Tagged ‘thinking’

A few months ago my niece and nephew re-introduced me to jigsaw puzzles. Not the easy kind, either. The difficult 1,000-piece kind, with so many similar color schemes and uniquely shaped pieces that you want to pull all your hair out.
 

At first I was incredibly frustrated as my puzzle skills and the typical puzzle-building strategies didn’t work so well. After a while though, I didn’t mind. I started to notice that working on the puzzle was replacing something I hated but was addicted to – being online. I soon realized how joyous it was to disconnect from my computer and engage my brain with a puzzle.
 

Still, it was frustrating; especially in the beginning when 1,000 scattered puzzle pieces seemed to have no organization, rhyme or reason. I would often stare at the mess of pieces on the table, desperately trying to force together two pieces I thought should connect, but obviously didn’t.
 
 

Finally, tired of failure and my inability to see any patterns, I would walk away from the puzzle. Sometimes I would not return for a day or two.
 
That’s when the magic happened.
 

During that time away it was as if my subconscious took a snapshot of the puzzle and worked on it while I slept and did other things. Miraculously, when I returned to the puzzle, I could instantly fit numerous pieces in place that I previously stared at for hours.
 

This happened every single time I walked away from the puzzle. That’s when I realized the bigger message here.  At some point this year I will be confronted by a challenge that I just can’t see an answer to in the moment.
 
That’s when I should “walk away”.
 

When I bump into that unsolvable problem, that is when I should let the subconscious work on the problem and trust that it will come up with the answer I seek. Nine out of 10 times that time away will bring the clarity I so desperately want and will deliver the answer I desire. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, there is often magic in doing nothing.
 

“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.”

— Rasheed Ogunlaru
 

American culture is a one that rewards and celebrates action and busy-ness. There is a lot to be said for that as our country has introduced innovation after innovation to the world. However, that culture has also created a society that favors action over thinking. And as such, we have lost our ability to think, let alone think critically.
 

I’m not sure we even know how to access our thinking anymore, for every second of our life is filled with noise, distraction and the latest technology or social media update.
 

So, here are some things you can do to quiet the mind, access your thinking – and more importantly – let the power of your subconscious effortlessly do the work.

  • Take a walk/Go for a bike ride/Exercise
  • Take a nap/Go to Sleep
  • Go out and have fun with friends.
  • Take a shower/bath.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Read a book.
  • Or, of course, you could build a jigsaw puzzle.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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I was recently asked a question by one of my clients and I noticed that I paused for what seemed like an eternity before I responded to them.

 

I imagine some might say I paused or am slower in my thinking because I am getting old(er). Some might say it is because I am insightful and want to consider what I am saying. And others might say I am simply doing it for effect.

 

But none of those is true.

 

This is why I pause —

 

The other day when I was biking I saw what appeared to be a thick tree limb split wide open on the side of the road, perhaps from one of the many storms that passed through the area this summer.

 

However, as I got closer to the limb I saw that it was not one branch, but in fact two separate branches with a yellowing leaf between them. And neither of the limbs were split open. It was the arrangement of the three objects that gave the appearance of one large limb that had been split open.

 

thought1You see, I pause in my thinking and observation not because I am old(er) or more insightful or trying to give effect.

 

I pause . . . I must pause . . . because I think I know.

 

I have seen and witnessed enough in my life to think I know. When I see or hear something, I am quick to categorize and label it, perhaps as something similar to what I have seen or heard in the past.

 

But conclusion based on assumption is dangerous and can lead to many mistakes in thinking and action.

 

If we can’t see things with new eyes, truly see and hear things as they actually are rather than what we THINK they are, then we must be aware enough to pause and consider all possibilities before speaking or acting.

 

This is why I pause, and why it is so important for me to do so. I want to consider the truth of what is before me rather than what I think I already know.

 

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
 

– Epictetus

 

Interacting with people and the world around us with an attitude of “I already know” is an epidemic these days. We all have retreated to “our sides” and we only wish to hear what we agree with or already believe to be true. Whether it is the media we listen to and read, our friends on Facebook, or our community groups, we surround ourselves mostly with information that supports our already established point of view.

 

Unfortunately, interacting with the world in this way will only limit our learning, our ability to think differently, and our ability to see the world as it truly is. And if that is how we truly wish to go through life, than we might as well lock ourselves in a room and spend the rest of our days in the dark.

 

The world can only truly be experienced by venturing out. We must consider other ideas, other people, and other beliefs if we are to be fully alive. We must venture out from the confining cage of thought we have built for ourselves and seek new truths.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

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