Change Your Mind Change Your Time

Normal human mind and thought processesThe normal human mind is only capable of experiencing one thought at a time.

If you think about the past or the future, your attention is diverted from what you are focussing on at any one time.

As our mind is prone to wander, this tends to make us naturally inefficient. With a constant barrage of both internal and external interruptions, it is not surprising that some people’s efficiency can be as low as 10%.

One of the benefits to recognising a problem is that we can begin to find a solution. When I first started meditating, I noticed very quickly that I was much more efficient on days when I treated myself to 10 minutes of Me Time. If I didn’t get around to meditating, some days I would be pushing water up a temporal hill.

  • What I learned was that the practice of mindfulness meditation didn’t so much make the inner chatter and distractions go away but it made it easier to deal with them. When we meditate daily, it becomes easier to remain in the meditative state through the day. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have no thoughts at all but we forge a new relationship with our thoughts.
  • – – – – –
  • I discovered that it was an urban myth that the left brain was logical and the right brain creative. A more accurate model was that the left brain sat inside space and time, focusing on detail, while the right brain dealt with the Big Picture and sat everywhere and ‘everywhen’ else.
  • – – – – –
  • I came across the art of Mind Mapping and learned how it induces the Whole Brain State, where left and right brains work in harmony. I learned this state can also be induced by some yogic breathing techniques. When we get in this state, time seems to stretch so tasks get done in the time we allocate to them. I called it EMT – or Extended Me Time.
  • – – – – –
  • What’s more, when in the EMT state, we emit less thought forms so people external to us don’t pick them up and think to bother us. We create an Interruption Barrier.
  • – – – – –
  • I learned that the source of procrastination were thought forms that mainly emanated in our lower mind centres. If I became a busy fool, creatively getting on with everything else other that the task in hand, it was because a fear was in operation. Occasionally, it was also because my gut mind ‘knew’ there was a better way, or more optimal time, to carry out the task. A quiet mind allowed me to tune in to this source of intuition – or inner-tuition – and to acknowledge the fear but to do it anyway!
  • – – – – –
  • I learned too that neuroscientists had discovered that the gut mind operates ahead of time and this is a possible source of precognition. This I called IMT – or Inner Mind Time.
  • – – – – –
  • I started to research the nature of light bulb and aha moments. These flashes of inspiration, that arrive in ‘no time at all’, are massive time savers and can be accessed on demand while in the meditative state. They come from inside space and outside time. When we experience one, we have entered OMT – or Outer Mind Time – and we awaken our prescient ability.
  • – – – – –
  • After a while, these practical benefits become second nature and another amazing benefit emerges. With a quieter mind, we become better able to spot serendipities, coincidences and opportunities. They were probably there all along but a busy mind meant we missed them. With reduced fear and more focus, external events soon arrive Just in Time and we begin to live a charmed and magical existence.

Before I found myself immersed into the world of mindfulness and meditation, I was always quite good making the complexities of high technology understandable by technophobes. I have applied the same mindset into what I call timefulness and have created an accessible 8 week self-study course, with 21 day meditation re-treat bonus, that will change your relationship with time. I am also teaching it live inside businesses and teaching teachers how to teach it.

If you want more time in your days and weeks, check out Mindfulness-based Time Management.

mindfulness-based time management

What blocks light bulb moments?

bulbThere are several states of being that stop light bulb moments in their tracks. I say ‘states of being’ as they are not limited to our state of mind. Light bulb moments are whole body phenomena.

The diagram below shows the main sources of blockages and also the area in our bodies in which they are mainly sited. Note that there is not only a fair bit of overlap between these sites but also a huge amount of cross-communication too.

Starting from the bottom up, if we are in a desperate state the lights are switched well and truly off. When we are in danger, the flight or fight response kicks in at the limbic centres of our brain and no amount of creativity can see the light of day. This is unless, of course, you are trained in a martial art where you have learned to control these base instincts. With just some basic training, we can indeed work inspirationally about how we handle pressure situations. The keys to becoming a master of such arts overlap considerably with the skills that conjure up light bulb moments on demand.

If you are in pain or discomfort, creativity can fly out of the window. A toothache perhaps affects an area of just a few square millimetres but it can put your whole mind in abeyance until you get it sorted. While you are in that dentist’s chair, you probably won’t be composing an opera. Somewhat ironically, if you could manage to do so, it would make the time go much faster.

Moving upwards on the diagram now, a secure environment sets the seeds for inspiration to flow. If you are in a workplace where you are underpaid (hungry for money) your creativity will be stifled. This can be exacerbated if there is a lack of recognition in your home or personal environment where you can’t share your achievements. One of the benefits of the Internet and social media is the ability to share your talents with a larger community should your local connections not recognise your genius.

Fears which we mainly store in our gut are the next causes of blockage.

If we were ever told an essay was poor by a teacher, this memory can stay with us for years. If you find someone else is getting you to write sales proposals or difficult customer emails, you can bet they had this experience at school.

Similarly, if our peers laugh at our attempt at art or music, we might never pick up an instrument or a brush again.

If you don’t try, you can’t fail so procrastination is also a marvellous success avoidance strategy. The other one is being a busy fool, perhaps starting loads of projects but never finishing any.

The two times in my life when I have been the most financially successful were co-timed with the points in my life when I was most stressed. Accordingly, fear of success has been with me for years and I have only just finally dealt with it now I am the other side of my half century.

We move now to our heart. The observant amongst you will notice these sites of imbalance and blockage are also sometimes referred to as chakra points.

If we are grieving or unloved, it is not time to start that novel. That is, of course, unless you are using the writing process as catharsis. A sad heart will reflect in your work. People who see your paintings, hear your music or read your words will pick it up in their hearts first as opposed to their heads. Again, if you want to induce this feeling, it is possible to temporarily recall that time of sadness while you are working. The ability to empathise and associate yet with detachment is the sign of a true master of their art.

We leave now the areas in our body that, for the most part, operate outside our conscious control yet that can affect us greatly. These centres evolved last in our evolution along with the ability to speak and the ability to be self-aware and think. The two are interlinked and often mimic each other. I am sure you have met someone who has to say something in order to think it through.

The very act of talking can suppress creativity, for the time we are actually speaking at least. This is especially if the thing we are talking about is of little consequence. If, however, you are an entertainer and your voice is your art, the opposite is true. The subtlety here is that any inspiration comes in on the in breath while we are not talking. The reason for this is that we speak on the out breath and there is a periodicity to the flow of creativity. Our aspirations flow on the out breath and inspirations come on the in breath or the still point between the in and the out. This flow is so subtle that is difficult to detect and tune into. Once you do though, the difference between external inspirational guidance and internal thought becomes clear.

As well as actual speech, there is self-talk. I am sure we have all been in a situation where someone is talking and we’re not listening but working out what we are going to say next. This is natural but while doing this it’s difficult to have a massively creative spurt on what to say next. It might sound counter intuitive but by truly listening to what the other person is saying, we have a better chance of replying with something erudite and off the cuff. We just have to learn to trust in the process and to trust ourselves. There is many a time when you can just listen and the other person will tell you at the end what a fabulous conversation they just had.

When we are by ourselves, we often have inner conversations. We might be rehearsing a speech or a talk or replaying a conversation where we wished we’d come up with a wittier and more incisive retort. From a light bulb moment perspective, this inner chatter – which is also referred to as the Monkey Mind – is an anathema. Later in this series, I will be showing you the arts of Whole Brain Thinking and Whole Mind Not-thinking and how to make the Monkey Mind quieten down and go for a rest.

Only when your mind is silent can the light bulb moments come in. This is of course why in the normal run of things light bulb moments occur when you aren’t expecting them. Perhaps you are driving, dreaming or in the shower when that flash of inspiration occurs. The proximity to water by the way is not coincidental.

The trick is to induce the conditions for light bulb moments to occur under your own volition. So, next in this series, I will dissect a light bulb moment and explain how it interacts with all these mind centres – all in less than a second.
P.S. if your mind is closed to all of this, this blocks external inspiration coming in via the crown

Here’s three ways to learn more about the magic of light bulb moments, how to have them on demand and how to stop those good ideas from getting away:
1. Buy the book
2. Book Tom for a live workshop
3. Book a Light Up Your Business session

Where Do Ideas Actually Come From?

Incredible advances in understanding how our brains work have been made by neuroscientists, yet the place where our consciousness is generated and our mind resides proves elusive. It’s a good guess is that it’s only proving tricky to find because people are looking in totally the wrong place.

So when it comes to finding the source of something even more ethereal such as an idea, where do you even start looking? Even an expensive MRI scanner won’t help you here as it measures the brain state after a thought has occurred. Apart from anything else, you might not have an MRI scanner handy when that idea comes along as they tend to be random in nature.

Bring in the Thought Detectives
To find the source of ideas, we have become sleuths. The first clues to pick up on can be found in our language.
It is no accident that we say things like, “Off the top of my head” and “At the back of my mind”. When something is on “the tip of my tongue”, it well be exactly where it is at that moment in time.

If you observe people when they talk, the position of their hands gives much away too. Sometimes people reach above their heads as if they are pulling an idea out of the ether. They will pat the centre of their chest if they feel passionate about something.

It turns out that thoughts exhibit properties similar, but different, to electromagnetic waves. The quantum physicists, neuroscientists and the mystics (and crackpots) are all converging on the same type of somewhat preposterous conclusion. It looks like our three space and one time dimensions sit on top of a number of other dimensions that, accordingly, sit outside space and time. Furthermore, it is in these ethereal realms that thoughts propagate from the present, past and future.

So it seems that the latest theories in cosmology are somewhat converging with those on consciousness. These theories could explain things like your dog knowing you are coming home or that you know the phone is about to ring and who is going to be on the other end of it. Da Vinci may well have had the prescience to invent the helicopter and parachute by using a similar mechanism.

Water, Water Everywhere
A similar mystery exists around where ideas and thoughts go once we had them. The search for the location of our memory in our brains has proved fruitless.

Some further illumination into this conundrum can be had from the phrase, “I can feel it in my water”. Many people I spoke to when researching my book on light bulb moments testified that they got their ideas when in the shower or when out walking near a river or waterfall.

It is also reported that people who have had transplants of organs like the heart, lung and kidney exhibit personality changes and can even pick up memories from the donor.
It appears that the water in our cells is not just to stop us drying out. The Japanese author Masaru Emoto has done many experiments with water that show its state changes with the mood and emotions of people around it.

Nothing New Under the Sun
For some readers, some of this might sound bonkers and for others, it may nothing new you may have heard bits or all of it elsewhere. Well it appears that much of what we are re-discovering was known and accepted by the ancient Greeks and civilizations that predated them by thousands of years.

There may be a benefit to those who suspend their belief and accept that some of this might be true, even if it’s not been quite ratified and embraced by the left-brained scientific community. If you accept the notion that thoughts might come from outside our brains from a collective thought pool, we must then ask the question of why we just picked up on a specific thought at a specific time.

After all, if this is all true, there’s a near infinity of thoughts bouncing around in the cracks between our neurons.
If these specific ethereal whispers are filtering through to your conscious awareness, perhaps it’s important that you pay attention to them. What’s more, as they only occur in the space between your thoughts and if you want more of them, it may pay great dividends to attend that meditation or yoga class.

In Conversation with The English Sisters

Something rather magical happened over the last few months as this amazing force of nature called The English Sisters came into my world …

These amazing ladies are somewhat difficult to describe and encapsulate in words so, to get a handle on their insight, wisdom and erudition, have a watch and a listen to one of what I hope is the first of many chats below.

And to hear and watch more, subscribe to their hypnotic ramblings either on YouTube or on their Hypnotic Rambling site –

iPad, iPhone users, watch here

The Business of Light Bulb Moments

This is the first in a series on light bulb moments in business.

More in this series:

Seven Ways to Encourage Light Bulb Moments

Twelve Ways to Generate Spin Offs

Seven Ways to Block Light Bulb Moments

It’s often traditional practice in business that innovation is restricted to either the product development team or the marketing department.

While this is natural and to be encouraged, businesses who want to survive and thrive in these times should take a more holistic approach to ideas generation.

Back in 1984, I was the proud owner of an early Macintosh computer. In the nineties, I ended up being begrudgingly dragged into the world of PC’s. Two years ago, I returned from the wilderness and have become a proud owner of an iMac and am writing this blog on an iPad. If you call me, I will answer you on an iPhone. I use MobileMe, shortly to be iCloud, and all in all I am a happy bunny.

Why? What Apple do is bring innovation into all customer touch points – starting with new product announcements and rich product functionality through to simplicity of purchase, ease of set up and use. This is all capped with superb ongoing support. A good example of the benefits of such a philosophy is that most iPad owners pay the same price again as the device in apps over a product’s life span.

But if you haven’t got Apple’s billions, how do you even begin to emulate their success? Where do you start?

The answer lies in looking at all the areas where you connect with clients and tackling the ones that are giving you the most headaches. By looking at these first, everything else will be a breeze. The way you look at them is important though.

If you wallow in negative thinking, this engages the parts of your neurology that block light bulb moments from occurring. The key lies in positive thinking. Even if the area you are looking at is not so great, it will inevitably have some good points at least.

What you do is simply identify the good points only and see how you can improve them as opposed to focussing on any negatives. The results are surprising – especially when you engage an independent and objective facilitator 😉

This is the basis and start of a process known as Appreciative Enquiry (or Inquiry). It is an example of parallel and sequential thinking which I will expand upon later in this new blog series on Light Bulb Moments in Business. Using this type of thinking is the key to making sure ideas don’t get away.

If you’d like to bring unlimited creativity to your business, have a look at my Light Bulb Moment on Demand service