In this blog we appeal to that powerful capability inside all of us when we embrace Total Quiet. The formula is Total Quiet = Power. It is a place where our minds are allowed to think with focus and clarity. Often in life, when we are out and about, something "pops into our heads". The truth is however, that whatever we are now thinking was sitting in our brain all along. However life's "noise" keeps these great thoughts sitting in the back of our mind. Focused thinking, by using real quiet time, will allow deeply seeded thoughts to surface.
Total Quiet can be deployed when taking a shower, or going for a run, or when you first wake up. It cannot however be fully exploited if we try to mesh it with other activities. Even driving a car with the radio off provides some solace for sure, but truthfully, we still must focus on the road and other distractions, thus not fully zoned in on our deep thoughts. To enjoy this state of mind, find a place that suits your ability to truly relax. Breathe deep and allow your brain to block out all of life's other issues, schedules, challenges and distractions. Put yourself into a thinking vacuum chamber.
There are many places that serve as the ideal place to embrace solitude. The ocean, for those fortunate enough to be around the beauty, power and energy of the ocean, serves as my favorite destination to find focus and clarity of thought.
The ever-changing energy of the ocean somehow allows me to block out all other aspects of my life and brings me to a place of harmony, quiet and clearness. Some of my most "innovative" ideas have surfaced while simply sitting at the ocean. The sounds of the waves, the smell of salt air, the wind, the birds, the clouds - all bring nature's finest into my collective self. These awe-inspiring elements allow my mind to process at a much higher level. All of sudden; ideas, innovations, possibilities and new opportunities surface. The truth is that all of these thoughts have been playing around in there all along but have been restrained from surfacing by other life events and a myriad of preoccupying forces. Only in deep thought are we able to pull these breakthroughs that have been kept safely stored in the back part of my mind to the forefront.
These thoughts and ideas are there for you and for me. We need to find techniques and approaches that help us get them from the back of our minds to the front of our minds. Sitting isolated and unfettered in the back of our minds limits our ability to fully capitalize on all the potential these great "revelations" can yield for our lives and the lives of others.
While meditation and deep thinking are not new approaches to bringing out our best intellectual self, in the modern world with the plethora of information always coming at us, especially on our smart phones, the ability to "turn it off" is almost impossible. Studies have shown that we lose our focus (even if we are trying to keep our focus) on average every 10-12 seconds. Think about it. 5ish times a minute our mind wanders somewhere else. We know it to be true. So, it takes concentration and focus to stay focused. One of the best things you can do to allow your mind to operate at light speed is to put it in a place so it can thrive. Your place of comfort and relaxation.
The ocean is my #1 place for respite, but there are others as well. My friends and colleagues, when posed with this question share such places as: the cafe, the deck at their house, near any body of water (lake, river, pond, stream or brook), at church, the mountains, the woods, at the library or even quietly in their bedroom. I'm sure if we polled our reader list, we would find some other great places of focus.
So why this article about Total Quiet Time? We are all busy creatures, running around at breakneck speed all day, every day, in this mad rush to be successful, or fulfilled, or wealthy or...... The list is endless. However, I find when working with my clients, that 99 out of 100 seldom take time to allow themselves to take a step back from it all and think. Simply think. Think about the future, about where they are going. What is their trajectory? What is their plan? What can they do about influencing the future? What's working? What's not working? What opportunities lie ahead? What's the contingency plan? What's the exit strategy?
The simple truth when breaking this down a bit further reveals even more clearly all the upside potential at our disposal when we allow ourselves some time to focus. One of the first questions I ask business owners when we begin our engagement is "how much time do you spend thinking about the future"? Is it even 5% of your time? 2 hours per week (for a 40 hour workweek). Annualized that equates to 100 hours per year. Imagine the potential if you could lock yourself up in your place of solace over the course of a year and actually apply that type of "mindware" to your success equation. Look out!
Of course, most (not all) people think I'm crazy. How could I ever devote that much time to this "process"? The honest answer, is you plan for it. Just like you plan for reviewing emails, or supervision with staff members, or for working on a client's job. Committed time to thinking, that's right, thinking is what we call in the world of Continuous Improvement - Value Added Time. Its the place where the real magic happens. Hard to believe right? Try it and let me know what revelations occur and how it will change your business life or your life life. Enjoy the journey!