As some of you will know, I have a mild aversion to being told, when asked how things are going, "I'm really BUSY!" Inevitably my reaction will be "busy doing what?" Often the answer is "just doing stuff I have to do. There's so much to do!" We all need to realise, quickly, that if we have a lot to do - if we are really really busy - we need to make choices. We need to accept that we cant do everything. We need to think about our priorities. In other words we need to be more strategic - seemingly the antithesis to being busy!
So you can imagine my interest in an article titled "The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time," by Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz. In it they discuss recent research that strongly suggests to think Strategically (or Differently) we need to get rid of the noise from our lives and have some quiet time - I quote:
"Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead. Duke Medical School’s Imke Kirste recently found that silence is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory. Physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minutes of silence inserted between musical pieces proved more stabilizing to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than even the music categorized as “relaxing.” And a 2013 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, based on a survey of 43,000 workers, concluded that the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans outweighed anticipated, but still unproven, benefits like increasing morale and productivity boosts from unplanned interactions."
Interestingly, they define the type of silence that is required as silencing "inner chatter" as well. This means we need to control those inner reflexes of promoting and defending our point of view. In other words, continually thinking about what to say! Hal Gregersen, in a recent HBR article, said:
"When we’re constantly fixated on the verbal agenda—what to say next, what to write next, what to tweet next—it’s tough to make room for truly different perspectives or radically new ideas. It’s hard to drop into deeper modes of listening and attention. And it’s in those deeper modes of attention that truly novel ideas are found."
So if you want to Think Differently, if you want to be more strategic in your thinking, if you want to be creative and innovative, stop being busy all the time! Take time to be truly quiet and stop that inner chatter. Give your hippocampus some new cells. Smell the Flowers!! How you do that is over to you - but it is important to try. Schedule your quiet time - without it you may miss that big opportunity you have been visioning for so long. And when you try to tell me "I cant do that, I'm too busy" you know what I'm going say - re-read the first paragraph!
Stay well, be focused and generate some real silence