How Busyness Is Killing Your Ideas
To do nothing is to be a failure today. Never has there been so much to give your attention to. Many of us are very nearly 24/7 on. And this busyness is killing your ideas.
I am not anti smartphones or social media. But I am anti screen culture where we spend every waking moment that is not absorbed by other specific tasks looking into the depths of our screens.
You’re Thinking Too Much
It’s very nearly impossible to come up with new ideas, solve problems or be creative when you are always busy. The rational mind is a limited engine. It has access to a limited amount of temporary information. And using it fires off hundreds of thousands of neurons with every thought.
That ‘aha’ moment you get when you have a sudden insight, a new idea or come up with anew solution only fires of a few thousand neurons. If you are always on, constantly busy, constantly reading, scrolling, thinking… you’re going to miss that aha moment.
You need to put the screen down, slow down and drift a bit. Allow your conscious, rational mind to rest, to kick back its heels for a while. Let your far bigger, far more powerful subconscious take over for a while… and not just once, but regularly.
Go for a walk, do the washing up by hand, have a shower, sit on a park bench and people watch. Look around you, contemplate, don’t decide, don’t rationalize.
You’ve Only Got One Source
New ideas rely on a diversity of information. The most astonishing new solutions and concepts come mainly from unexpected synergies between unrelated pieces of information, technology or concepts.
Thanks to the algorithm slaved to serving you more and more of what you like to keep you glued to your screen for longer to earn more advertising revenue, your social media feed and your search engine are doing the exact opposite of giving you a diversity of inputs.
Their mere existence is to give you more of what you already know, what you already like. It will not stretch you, it will not risk you clicking away. So, you’ve got to click yourself away, you’ve got to take breaks, put down the screen and go. Take time out, do nothing. Think, reflect, introspect.
Creativity Requires Diversity
As a society, we are chained into an ever-decreasing pool of information resources that are dictated by our tastes and our knowledge. To break free of that, into clear space where original thought is possible, you need to take downtime, to switch off from the hamster wheel of productivity and consumption.
But more than that, you need to balance the scales a little bit, you need to look for alternative sources. Try speaking to people who disagree with you. Try researching the opposite of what you currently believe. Read a book about a subject you have no interest in. You will be surprised at what happens… how many new ideas and solutions you begin to have.
When your attention and focus is turned outwards, you cannot have aha moments or insights. Our devices keep us looking outward. To get real, to get creative, you need to spend time not being externally focussed. To process what you have read, learned and experienced. This will allow you the time to come up with answers, more questions and insights.
By staying slave to the real-time, every minute update news feed of banality, you are slowly putting the very thing that makes you human to sleep. You are turning off your creative brain.
If you are feeling uninspired and empty. Do nothing. Don’t let this culture of busy-ness kill your creativity.
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