Clear Your Brain

There is less and less quiet in the world. Sensory overload is rampant. Your attention is diverted by noise and moving pictures continually .Everywhere you go someone else’s favorite music blares at you. Televisions hang on walls everywhere, sometimes with sound, sometimes with streaming words, sometimes just soundless random movement. You can’t even get gas for your car without having a television shouting at you.

No wonder people so often tell me that they can’t stay focused for long, their attention wanders continually, they’re stressed out always. They can’t think.

They can’t think.

Most of the people I work with lead organizations. Their job is thinking.

As our attention spans attenuate, our focus dissipates, our concentration evaporates…deep thought disappears.

I see this all the time. People are great at using the internet to find facts but horrible at being able to stop looking for more facts and think about the meaning of what they’ve already found.

Looking, looking, looking fits in nicely with short attention spans. Thinking not so well. Thinking requires concentrated effort rather than continual disruption. In so many ways thinking is the antithesis of the modern world.

As I became aware of this situation in my own life, I realized that I was withdrawing from modernity for long periods of time. A week of crazy international travel with not a second of peace and quiet would lead to a few days in my house in the woods surrounded only by the sound of the woods and the creatures living there. Inevitably during this time I captured the best ideas on how to solve some client problem or wrote something that turned out to garner many comments.

Will Rogers once said,”never miss a good chance to shut up.” It occurred to me that the corollary to his thought is “never miss a good chance to shut everything else up.”

Take a Clarity Break often. Go someplace and just think. Tune out the world and ponder your issues and let your mind roam free. Drain the sensory overload from your mind and start thinking afresh.

Your body relaxes. Tension dissipates. Your mind clears.

When I ask successful executives about this subject they invariably tell me what they do for their clarity breaks. Next they mention how they wish they had more time to do whatever it is they do more often. I pop my consulting hat on and before too long we’ve worked out how to get them more thinking time.

After all, thinking is an executive’s most important job.

 Me on Clarity Break

Deception Pass 5

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  1. Bhavin Thacker May 18, 2015 at 9:57 am · · Reply

    This is a great article, something that I’ve discussed casually with many people I know. One of the reasons is the choices we face have increased and “keeping things simple” has become a challenge and less competitive in a sense as most of us wind up over-thinking things or overdoing stuff in an effort to stand out.

    I like all the ideas being shared here; one of the things I do is deep breathing and some yoga that is soothing and increases focus and concentration.

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