This morning, I read a fantastic blog published by Six Pixels Of Separation that touted the brilliance of boredom. Many roads take us to boredom, but the type of boredom I am talking about is better defined as a MENTAL TIMEOUT. This is a conscious choice to – for a period of time – ban input & just be. What qualifies as input? Email, text, surfing the web, reading, talking, and any kind of “doing.”
I’m not sure about you, but I know very few people who personally embrace quiet time with any discipline. However, it is in these moments that ideas hit, brilliance percolates, and solutions come screeching out of nowhere.
When we are taking info IN, we are recyling other’s thoughts & weaving their opinions through our minds. This is not OUR wisdom – it is their’s. Thus, while a big fan of education & learning, there is a fine line between input that creates true growth & input that prohibits you from hearing your own wisdom. We all know people who are so full of other people’s wisdom that it’s impossible to know what they actually believe. “Tony Robbins’ said this….,” “John Maxwell recommends…,” “Napoleon Hill believes….” Great. And the world is flat.
When we are DOING, our minds are active & engaged, but because most of what we do is similar to what we have done in the past, we are recycling our own thoughts & further grooving our beliefs of the “AS IS” into our minds. Thus, we repeat the same patterns, sit in the same chair in meetings, have the same conversations with the same people. And we try to solve the same problems with the same thinking we’ve used for the last 5 years.
We have all witnessed a leader who has tried tirelessly to address an age old problem, and a role change happens, and bam! The new leader immediately solves it. This isn’t because one is smarter than the other. It’s simply because one is thinking in a new way.
How do you stop the INPUT? Shut everything off & sit focusing on your breath. As your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. If you want to get up and DO something, notice that & continue to sit. If your mind starts making lists of tasks, notice that and return your focus to your breath. Call it centering, meditation, or just boring yourself, it is in these times of silence that quantum stuff happens. I promise you, you will notice a marked improvement in the quality of your thinking immediately & you will be shocked that you sustain this more creative, empowering, wise thinking for a period of time.
If you base your DOING on the foundation of your time spent “BEING,” your results will go through the roof. DOING is the root of all movement but BEING is the root of all advancement. But it takes discipline & a conscious choice to build space into your day. Especially when those around you don’t get it. But trust me, the fact that you “get it” will serve you well.
People always ask me how long they should “sit.” Here’s my INPUT (aka: my wisdom for your consideration – not blind adoption). 23 Minutes / 1 Time per Day. Twice a day is fabulous. Why 23? There is some research that shows 20 minutes is a significant marker in meditation as time is needed for our brain chemistry to shift. 23 for me because it takes me 3 minutes to simply talk myself out of springing back up & into action. Many “sources” recommend 30 minutes. If you have 5 minutes – take it. You can shift your state & calm your mind with 90 seconds of intentional breathing.
My last piece of advice? This is easy in theory & difficult in practice. It forces you to surpass very conditioned patterns of behavior like ceaseless activity & circular mind chatter. 28 days to form a habit. If you are going to test drive this, commit to at least a month of daily boredom.
Here’s the link to the blog post mentioned above: http://www.twistimage.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/2494