27 September 2023

Clearing the clutter from a busy mind

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Bruce Kasanoff* urges us to clear the fog in our heads for a moment — and take a look at the bigger picture.

Thanks to the patience and skill of photographer, David Kingham I’m sharing the above image that should cause you to stop what you’re doing and ponder your place in the Universe.

However, the odds are you won’t stop.

You’ve got 75 emails to read, eight people to call back, and three memos to write.

You’re worried about your kids, job, salary, organisation, health, dog, mother-in-law, presentation, taxes, and the air-conditioning.

You’re always in a hurry, and — in many cases — when you get to where you are going, you have trouble slowing down.

You’re not alone.

The huge majority of human beings live in the fog.

The fog is in your head.

Mine, too.

David’s photograph is of the North Moulton Barn on Mormon Row, just outside Jackson, Wyoming.

It’s one of the most-photographed barns in existence, but David’s image is completely unlike any I have seen.

Most are taken in the daytime, with the Teton Mountains in the background.

David takes the exact same setting, and focuses our attention on what lies past the barn, the mountain range and even the Earth.

He wants us to notice the Universe.

However, you have emails to read and phone calls to return.

You probably don’t have time to stop for a minute and absorb the beauty of the image in front of you. Or do you?

I’m not suggesting you spend the rest of the year in the woods, staring up at the sky.

I am suggesting that if you can’t stop what you’re doing for an hour or two, then you can’t get out of the fog bank formed by your own thoughts.

If you have no time for a break, for clarity, for mindfulness then the forecast for your career is ‘foggy and rainy’ (forever).

Stopping is how we gain perspective.

Without perspective, all our decisions are clouded.

Without perspective, we are reacting to our own beliefs, attitudes and biases, rather than the facts.

I live and work in a fog bank, too, but every now and then, I manage to stop… doing… stuff… and be absolutely quiet.

When this happens, new ideas pop into my head.

It’s almost as though I finally cleared out my memory enough for a fresh insight to form.

If you come back from a vacation with a fresh perspective, it’s for the same reason — you can’t think clearly with a pile of junk in your head.

All the gridlock in politics and business exists for the same reason: People have far too much junk in their heads.

They mistake the fog in their heads for principles.

They are too busy to be clear, or focused, or insightful.

I can’t offer you an easy way to get out of the fog.

The best I can do is motivate you to find a clearing ahead.

There’s still time to look at the picture.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

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