The normal human mind is only capable of having one thought at a time. Just think about that sentence for a moment to validate this.
Note of course that there is nothing normal about the human mind. As far as we know, it’s the only bit of self-aware matter in the Universe. It’s also capable of reprogramming itself in an instant.
So with this strange ability to only think one thought at a time, if our mind wanders away from the task we are focusing on, our efficiency will drop. This basic aspect of our consciousness leads us to the real reason we become inefficient. When our mind wanders, our productivity drops accordingly.
So think about your thoughts in a typical day. Some of them will be mulling over past events. Perhaps you’ll think about conversations that could have gone better. If someone crossed your boundaries, you can spend hours agonising about it. You might of course be harking back to pleasant times like an enjoyable meal, a fabulous holiday or how you met the love of your life.
Alternatively you may be planning and rehearsing a speech or conversation for a day or more ahead. You may be thinking of what to cook for supper or longing for the weekend to arrive more quickly and the working week to finish. To add to all of this, there are all those pesky interruptions, diversions and distractions.
As a picture says 1000 words, this pie chart tells the story. You can also make your own up based on a typical day – a most illuminating exercise.
Such mind meanderings are of course normal and nothing to worry about per se. What goes on in our mind however can affect our physical and mental well-being. If you find they are dragging you down, one of the many ‘talking therapies’ might help.
If such thoughts are merely affecting your creativity and productivity, there is a simple way to get back in the groove. All we have to do is to learn to meditate and take some ’me time’ out every day. When I first did this 10 years ago, I thought I could never make my over-active mind go quiet. I was a busy guy too and didn’t have 10 or 20 minutes to waste every day. Nowadays if I don’t meditate, I have a worse day. When I do take some ‘me time’, I find the serendipities generated save the time back in spades.
There are two types and levels of meditation too, with one leading to the other. The first method relies on use meditating on a thing like the breath, a flame, a sound or a mantra. Just like counting sheep at night, this has the effect of numbing our thoughts into submission, by one thought replacing the last and so forth.
With the second method, we meditate on each thought as it comes in and ‘talk’ to it. We can ask it where it came from and why and ask it politely to go away or to be quiet. While this might sound like the internal ramblings of a mad person, it has remarkable results when applied in our waking days. It’s known as the Quantum Collapse of Thought.
If our mind wanders off focus with thoughts of the past or the future, we can use two simple strategies to get our minds back to the task in hand. For thoughts of the past, we can thank and acknowledge them for the lesson they have brought. For thoughts of the future, we can ask them to remind us later of their message at at time which is just perfect.
This simple thought clearance procedure works a treat and costs nothing to experiment with. Just try it for a few days and report back here by way of comment how you get on. If you have an alternative technique, let us know too.
After a few weeks of practicing this procedure, you’ll find you become luckier too!
What’s not to like?
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