I know your mind is always racing, or as a friend of mine describes it, there is a constant slideshow of thoughts. But really that is the point! When asked, “What are you thinking about?” I sometimes struggle to answer because there about 15 thoughts coming in and out of my conscious. Is there a problem with this?
WHERE DID MY IDEA GO?
Pulitzer Prize nominee, Nicholas Carr, pointed out in “The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains”, that with all the media stimulus, humans are having trouble stopping the flow of information, resulting is our loss of ability to concentrate and contemplate issues. “Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” (Source: Goodreads.com)
I have to say, I agree with Nicholas Carr. Even though I love the accessibility of information, I have lost too many new ideas because the next headline flew into my view and my thought has fallen away.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Schedule time to do nothing; yes, actually schedule time for nothing. This is also known as the incubation period. “Although physically unproductive, these times allow information [you’ve] been exposed to mix, mingle, and marinate, then produce new ideas and insights… Successful people regularly schedule time for ‘nothing’ when incubation can take place.” According to Thai Nguyen, 7 Ways Successful and Fulfilled People Think Differently. (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
TRY NOT TO MULTI-TASK
Another friend has trouble sitting down to read because she feels she is not being productive. Do you ever feel that way about contemplation? “I’m not getting anything off the to-do list.” So we try to complete tasks while focusing on other thoughts. STOP!
According to Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain, by Daniel J. Levitin, “Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” (Source: Truthdig.com)
PUT THE DEVICES DOWN
We have gotten accustomed to constant influx of information. As I am writing this blog, it is hard to ignore the visual stimulation of another email popping up. Resist the urge to click. Finish the thought!
In an interview with Nicholas Carr he shared, we “are constantly connected to unlimited flows of information. We begin to spend all of our time glancing at our phone, taking in new information, and that crowds out the time available to engage in really deep attentive thought. When you’re not looking at a screen or following messages or googling and so forth, you’re kind of shutting off the flow of information, and taking the information you’ve gathered, and thinking really deeply about that; that requires really attentive focused mind, and it’s becoming more and more challenging. We’re becoming more impatient because we expect to click a link to get new information. You become almost unwilling to slow it down enough to engage in really deep thought.” If “at different times you’re quieting your mind, turning off the flow and really being attentive, then that’s going to give you a special kind of personal advantage over other people who aren’t able to regulate their intake of new data and new information.”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Recently I have been working on a number of presentations on future preparedness, as well as, doing my own 2016 goal setting. I find myself quite guilty of multi-tasking and many of the short comings Carr speaks of. To successfully be future ready we have to give ourselves the time to just sit and think sometimes.
How do you make the time to JUST THINK?