For a brief time in 2012, we lived in an inner city suburb, north of the city.
The local park was an old tip converted into a park with a large man-made hill in the centre. From the top there was a splendid view of the city buildings.
I was writing a book as part of a business course I was doing. Coming up with the perfect title was doing my head in.
So, I would sit on a bench staring at the city and with a dogged determination, sift, sort and discard ideas for hours. The more I thought the less sure I was of even writing the book.
Part of the process had been a set of exercises to ‘unpack my value’. I felt overburdened with choice.
Dr Barry Schwartz wrote in his book, ‘The Parody of Choice’, ‘When we become exposed to seemingly endless choices, our decision making process is stunted and we can become debilitated.’
I have my own theory. My over-thinking was fuelling the Lizard. A lack of decision is it’s call to action. Wasting hours of productive billable time was how it framed what I’d been doing. So to the mix, I added guilt.
In research of a light bulb moment
I needed a light bulb moment. But how do you manufacture one of those?
R. Keith Sawyer is a world acknowledged expert on the subject of creativity.
In a Times interview, talking about his creativity research, he referred to the three B’s, bathtub, bed and bus. The places where we take time out from the problems and issues of our daily lives and so ‘change what we’re doing and the context and activate different areas of the brain.’
Daydreaming, which we often do in the ‘three b’s’, has also been attributed to the creative process.
Research shows that we daydream up to a third of our waking hours, and that these ‘mind wanderings’ activate the same decision making parts of the brain that are triggered by focused thinking.
In one study, observations demonstrated that the content of mind wandering is closely related to ‘current personal concerns and unresolved issues’.
Exhausted by the over thinking and lack of resolution and needing to shut the Lizard up, I decided to give it a break.
Not long after, I was daydreaming on a walk with some random rock song playing in my ears. Without warning, in popped the term ‘immutable laws’. No reference, no context. Followed immediately by the seven words which subsequently became the seven principles from which I wrote the book and now coach as part of my business.
A life-changing, lightbulb moment.
Clarity is a beautiful place
While this is only my theory, the science appears to back it up – you have to be in a place of ‘current personal concerns and unresolved issues’ to find clarity.
You have to go through a process that clutters your brain with all the information, all the possibilities, all the options in any given situation for a lightbulb moment to pop in to your brain.
Ask any of the participants of a course I am a joint facilitator in, Talk On Purpose.
The beginning of the course seems to mess with people’s heads. They thought they were clear on their purpose and their intention for the talk, but the options we expose them to leads to indecision.
From a place of confusion and clutter, sometimes seemingly at the last moment, out pops the right idea. To a one they graduate with a fluent, coherent, talk on purpose. For some, they say it is life changing.
Clarity is a truly, desirable outcome for us all. And often it comes when you are having fun or relaxing or daydreaming and not working so hard your brain wants to break.
Which is why I am delighted to invite you all to the upcoming Through a Glass, Brightly, clarity webinar series. You can find the details here.
It starts on June 25th and features five extraordinary people and myself and my husband, Roger. We’ve all found clarity through way more than the mandatory 10,000 hours it takes to become good in the fields of what we do.
Their goal is to share with you clarity around purpose, speaking, truth, story telling, conversation and clarity itself. We will inject a little clarity into the subjects that daunt so many, being online and writing.
They CAN Co-Exist: Fun and Productivity
Being productive doesn’t have to come at the cost of fun (or relaxing or daydreaming!). Joy (and clarity) can be had when you’re at your most efficient.
Each month, a group of wickedly smart business owners come together for the Word Carnival to discuss a business topic, this month – we’re covering Fun and Productivity, and how both can exist side-by-side. Check the other blogs out here. You will, as always gain gold.