27 September 2023

The best insights can come from doing nothing

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Bruce Kasanoff* says simply pausing for a few minutes to clear your head can be the best way to prepare for the next ‘fire hose of chatter’.

My friend Molly Tschang, who read one of my posts about ‘stillness’, sent me a text to suggest that I do a piece explaining exactly what I mean.

She wanted to know how she might actually ‘be still’.

Molly, this is that piece. Stillness, to me, means clearing your head.

It means being quiet and emptying your mind of thoughts so that actual, highly valuable insights have room to get your attention.

It entails shifting from a fire hose of chatter in your head to a single, beautiful truth.

Sometimes it simply means doing absolutely nothing, so that you can recharge.

To achieve a dramatic shift in your state of consciousness, there are two basic strategies.

You can either unload stimuli (i.e. be still) or overload stimuli (i.e. go skydiving or white-water rafting). I use both approaches.

I recently came upon a stream at the foot of a mountain above the town of Park City, Utah. I took a picture of it (above).

It seemed the ideal place to settle down, sit by the rushing water, and be silent.

In the woods above that stream, I’ve also ridden my mountain bike so fast that there was no room in my brain for any thought except: Stay alive!

Other strategies I’ve employed to clear my mind include: Hiking alone in the woods,

juggling, counting the duration of my breaths and gazing into a fireplace or campfire.

There’s also rock climbing, kayaking into the middle of a body of water and simply sitting there, and attempting to draw something.

None of these examples are right or wrong. They are simply tools to withdraw from the habit of talking, talking, talking in your head and/or with other people.

Why do you want to take a break from that sort of chatter?

It’s easy to get stuck in thoughts and opinions that simply aren’t true.

The vast majority of people think they are self-aware, but actually aren’t. They think they are seeing the truth, but they are not.

Very often, I have been such a person. The price of such self-delusion can be very high.

I’ve learned that stillness is a path to more accurate perceptions.

Why? Because when you stop trying to justify the same incorrect perception in your head, you open the door to what might be a more accurate sense of reality.

*Bruce Kasanoff is an executive coach and social media ghostwriter for entrepreneurs. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

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