Think About Think Time
I had a rare opportunity recently: I found myself in the car alone for six hours. Deciding six months was too long between daddy/daughter visits, I drove out to Cornell University to visit Emma and her wife, Alex.
My first thought as I hit the highway was, “When is the last time I was on a long trip like this?” The answer still has not come to me.
Preparing for the trip, I thought about the clothes I would need and how best to spend my time between Boston and Ithaca, N.Y. I re-listened to my favorite audio book on negotiation, “Never Split The Difference” as well as some music. I had a long conversation with a team member in Berlin. I checked in with my brother down on the Cape. But there was one activity I neglected to include …
I failed to take some time to just think.
Free and open thinking with no agenda is an incredibly valuable use of time. I read recently that your mind is constantly working on problems in the background. Letting the din of life settle down and then accessing that process, you are suddenly hit with a brilliant idea.
The problem is, you cannot plan for creative thinking any more than you can be funny when someone points at you and says, “Bill, you’re a funny guy. Tell a joke.”
Fortunately, if you drive to Ithaca, you must drive back. This gave me a chance to correct the mistake. Leaving shortly after breakfast Sunday morning, I put the top down in the Bug and reversed direction. This time, in addition to some of those other activities listed above, I shut off all electronics, enjoyed the scenery, and let my mind wander. It was fruitful as I thought through three things, primarily:
- Trying to memorize the notes on the guitar fret;
- The positioning of various barre chords; and
- A new project I am preparing at work.
The difference between the ride to Cornell and the ride back was I had a weekend to “pull the train into the station” and chill. This is an important component in my creative thinking process. Simply put, I was in the mood and my mind was far less active than normal.
Life moves fast, as Ferris Bueller told us. Be aware of those opportunities to do nothing more than sit with a pad of paper and pen and think through the challenges you are facing. It’s amazing how this supercomputer we have on our shoulders works if you tap into its power.
Bill’s sales training is not cheap, just effective and guaranteed. Contact Bill Farquharson through his website, BillFarquharson.com or 781-934-7036.