Are you making the most of your mind? These are the three easiest, and most powerful, hacks I know.
I remember a few years back I was doing an interview for some online start-up mag (which, ironically, flopped.)
They sent me a bunch of questions. I was supposed to fill them in and send them back to them, and then they’d write it up like you were having a conversation over lunch. Usual b.s.
Anyway, I write up a bunch of answers and give it to someone in the office to proofread.
They come back to me and say, “Jon, are you sure about this answer?”
“It says, ‘If you had to pick one thing, what would you say is the key to your success?’
“You wrote, ‘my mind.’”
They had a point. You can’t really lay down an answer like that without sounding like a wanker.
So I changed it. I said, ‘My people’. The great people at Knowledge Source. It’s all about the people.’
(You get a lot of kudos for an answer like this. It makes you sound like some silicon valley visionary. Very popular answer.)
But now that we’re here in the warm, supportive bubble of the couple of hundred thousand people signed up to this blog, I’m willing to open the kimono right up and say that, actually, yes, my mind is the key to my success.
Am I a wanker?
As it happens, yes. Yes, I am. I’m a total shit-stirrer. That’s one of the fun things about being me. But I don’t think about this as big-noting myself.
Because I don’t really think of my mind as mine.
I don’t think language has really evolved in a way that helps us talk about this stuff easily yet, but what I mean is, the part of my mind that drives my success feels very removed from the me that is writing this blog, that wanders around talking and interacting with people, or even the mind that prefers vegemite to peanut butter.
If it didn’t feel like inspiration rose out of some deep inner place, I would even say that it comes from somewhere else, somewhere heavenly even – like a lot of peoples through time have done.
Inspiration feels like it belongs to someone else – like it is authored by someone else. I’m just lucky enough to be on the receiver when it gets dialled in.
We can all sense how powerful the sub(or super?)conscious mind is. I mean, just think about everything it does. Can you imagine if you had to do everything consciously? Regulating breathing, releasing hormones, secreting digestive juices.
That’d be nuts.
As it is, there is a T-Rex of unconscious processing occurring, while a little monkey of consciousness sits on its head wondering about what the other Spice Girls are up to these days.
So the question is, how do we harness the full potent power of this T-Rex, and channel its power into our productive lives?
This really is the million dollar question. Like it is for me, I totally believe that your mind is the key to your success. Everything is in the mind. And when I look at what I’m trying to do with the No B.S Friday series, it’s all comes down to this: making your mind your most important ally, your most crucial resource, the key to your success.
So are you with me on the wanker train yet?
Ok, so back to the question. We have a T-Rex of ferocious power, and a monkey with an interest in pop music. What do we do?
Think about it this way. You are the CEO of an organisation with 1,000 incredibly talented staff (like me).
However, you never talk to them. You never see them. They keep the company running while you think about the Spice Girls (like me).
Obviously the first thing you’d do is try and open up some communication channels, and spend time tuning into the wisdom they have to offer. You might not want to hear from the bowel unit unless there’s a problem, but there’s a deep and powerful wisdom available to you if you can grasp it. So:
Hack 1: Make time and space for your intuition
We need to treat our intuition the way old poets used to treat their muse – as a fickle fairy that would only show up when the conditions were right. We need to throw out the picnic blanket of the soul, and patiently wait for her to show up.
And while we’re patiently waiting and chasing flies away from the sandwiches, we can’t just check a couple of quick emails, or drop so and so a message, or flick through facebook. We need to just stop, and wait.
Don’t give the mind little jobs to do. Don’t throw it titbits of stimulation. Just let it settle.
People who know me know this side of me. I feel like I’m at my most productive when I’m staring out the window, or thumbing my coffee cup, or watching the ankles of people walking past the window.
I know that space when the linear, step-by-step mind disengages, and the deeper, associative mind takes over. And I know that all of my best ideas happen in that space.
Hack 2: Direct Your Daydreaming
That said, we still want to engage with the process. While I think it is important to give the mind some time totally off the leash every now and then, there is real power in something I call ‘directed daydreaming’.
In this process, you set out the things you’d like to think about. This is bigger picture stuff – a nutty problem at work, some relationship that isn’t flowing smoothly, your goals for the year.
Having pegged out the space, then just let the mind wander where it wants to. Don’t ask it for solutions. Don’t ask it for insight. Just let it meditate and mull on whatever takes its fancy. Put up a fence and then let the gentle cows of thought wander where they will.
Watch them. Follow them. See what they keep coming back to. Be curious. Unpack, but don’t analyse.
And that’s it. Let the deep gears turn. The fruits of this exercise often come long after the session is over.
I like to block our regular sessions. Put it in your diary. Know that 4-6 Friday afternoon, you’ll be having a good ol think. Make that commitment to your muse.
If she knows she has regular access to you, there’ll be more fruit in her basket each time she comes.
So that’s it. Three hacks for making the most of your mind, and for living a more inspired and aligned life.
I actually can’t think of any lower hanging fruit in the journey to success. In terms of payoff to effort, these hacks are off the chart.
And if you see me dreamily staring out the window, don’t disturb me. I’m busy.
I’m doing my most important work.
How do you access the power of your inspiration?