The world is noisy. There is no shortage of information being thrown at us on a regular basis. Our phones are tethered to us, making it difficult to escape the bombardment of distractions.
According to a recent IDC research survey, 80% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. You are immediately berraded with news, emails, and pictures of your friends on social media. All of this is happening within the first few minutes of consciousness.
The human brain is a powerful organ - more powerful than we can currently comprehend. Its complex capabilities help us make sense of the world. We store stunning amounts of information, remember distant occurrences from the past, and so much more. Our enormous brains have greatly assisted in the evolutionary success of homo sapiens. The collective capacity of the human race is something not to be undervalued or underestimated. That said, our individual brains do have limits.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for our intellect to efficiently multitask. Instead we are constantly switching our focus from one area to another, almost instantaneously. Some may be superior at this than others but the reality is, anyone is subject to overlooking or misinterpreting what is presented at any given time. When we are in a state of constant so called “multitasking,” we limit ourselves from harnessing our full capabilities.
So, what does this all mean for one’s overall creativity and well being?
Creativity requires stillness. Stillness requires time to look within and pull your emotions to the surface. You must be conscious of your surroundings and cognizant of how they affect you. When you jump around from one task to the next, you don’t have time to participate in the necessary act of self reflection: a vital piece of personal development and understanding.
How can you find the best solutions to a given problem unless you have the time to fully grasp the situation at hand? How can you think creatively without comprehending the true nature of the things at hand? The simple answer is - you can’t.
Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative minds of the late 20th and early 21st century, would consistently take walks to help him grapple with tough decisions. Sometimes he would go alone, other times he would bring along individuals he needed to collaborate with. This allowed him to break away from all distractions and maintain a clear focus on what was circulating through his brain.
Another creative genius who harnessed the power of stillness is Albert Einstein. When stuck on complex problems he found serenity in playing the violin. The peaceful notes of a curvy, wooden, four string box was enough to help him to block out the world and let his mind flow freely. Both examples show us that even the most productive of visionaries find time to quiet their surroundings.
Understanding the need for such moments will not only help us think more creatively but it can also lead to a more engaging life. Both Shaffer and I have been known to disappear for hours (sometimes days) on end, returning with a clearer understanding and picture of each project. We each thoroughly enjoy our alone time. We don’t look at it as boring, or a waste of productivity, but rather a necessary step for the success of our business. That being said, we still fall prey to the fast paced consumption of information. It is almost impossible to completely escape this world of noise. That is why we find it even more important to cultivate moments of calmness into our daily routine.
We challenge you to find those moments, embrace them, and reap the benefits from the clarity that arises.