When do you have your best ideas? In the middle of the night? In the shower? While walking to, or from, work? I’d venture to guess that your best ideas often come when you least expect it and while your mind is free, clear and wondering like a child through a toy store.
A better question to ask is, “How can we create the circumstances to trigger a deeper thinking state of mind and get new ideas flowing?” … let’s talk about that for a few minutes.
If you’re like me a few years ago, your day is a shit-storm of action items, meetings and to do lists. Your brain is focused on what needs to get done by the end of the day, end of the week and and of the month. You’re buried in the weeds and your mind is stuck in surface-level, short-term thinking.
Although the day-to-day is important, we can’t let it consume our entire thought pattern or we will end up running full-speed, with our eyes close and with no destination in mind. Not ideal.
Deep thinking is critical.
Whether focused on your personal life, a relationship or challenge at work, you have the need to slip your mind into deeper thinking in order to think bigger, deeper and more creatively.
Over the last two years I’ve created and refined various habits, rituals and activities to help pull myself into deeper thought. In today’s “Keyy.io Bite-Sized-Bit” I break down one of my newest and favorite activities I use to trigger deep thought.
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Additional resources on living in the space between:
- My Book Recommendations
- Moleskine Pocket Notebook
- Wim Hof Documentary
- Someone Explaining the Wim Hof Breathing and Pushup Exercise
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Hello can you hear me if you can hear me just let me know say yes and I will let you know that the volume is working. Oh that's right this is a podcast to you can't tell me that welcome back may be I have tricked you welcome back to another keyy.io bite sized bits where we are serving up all kinds of little nuggets, little ideas things to help you think differently, things to help you attack problems differently in order for you to unlock your true potential and today we are talking about a I wanted to assure an activity that I have been kind of stumbled upon and working really well for me at the time where I need to trigger myself to get into some kind of deep thought I have a problem I am trying to more over different solutions.
I am going through to try and find out what are the best questions I should be asking about a particular thing and this activity that I am going to show you today have been proven to be very beneficial for me and I hope you can use it as well. Before we dive into that I wanted to first give you little heads up, I am often asked what books do I recommend, I read a book a week and always trying to consume all these kind of books and so people always ask me what are the books that I should be reading of course it depends on what you want to be learning and at the end of the day it depends on what you want to be learning.
So what I did was I put together a book library of a sorts, where you can see all of the different topics and the books I would recommend to read in order to learn or kind of grow in that particular topic and so I would encourage you to check it out keyy.io/books check that out otherwise in this show notes I am going to put the link and you can just click on through there, get some good reads and if you have any suggestions there is the comment box's in there you can let me know the things that I am missing because I am always looking for great suggestion as well.
Aren't you this way of thinking, this kind of activity that I put together for myself for way of thinking it's nothing earth shattering you know you hear lot of people do it but first of all let's figure out why you want to do this, if you are like most people or like myself when you are going through the day to day, you are living in kind of a shallow thought pool. You are thinking of what I have to get done today. What are my tasks; you are thinking very short term.
What is going on this week, let's look at my calendar and this is analogy of the force, this is almost like walking through a forest under the trees you are looking around, there is trees all over yourself really it's such a thick dense forest, you can't really see the end of it, all you see are the trees around you one or two, three paths that you have curved out for yourself. On the flip side of that we also have deep thought and this is where you are starting to pill layers back and think about the big picture, think about some of these things at its core and this is not a typical type of thought that a lot of people generally speaking do they think very much on short term and even for myself, for yours very much in short term and it's a totally different shift in your brain that you have to make to be able to start thinking long term.
Think strategic, think about new ideas that you have never considered before, taking things from other industries, from other places and marinating on those in order to apply those to whatever situation you are facing or like I mentioned earlier where I use this a lot as well outside of all those things is if I am trying to figure out what are the right questions then I should be asking myself in order to dig deeper and find the right solution. It's all about the questions that's necessarily seeking the answers.
So this in the analogy is kind of like a imagine that you grew wings and all of a sudden you flew up and now you are above the forest and you can see the lay of the land and you can see the where the edge of the forest is, you could see what's beyond the forest and because you have that high level view of the forest it allows you to figure out what is the path that you should take when you dive back down and get into the path in order to get to the end of the forest and move into next area. So that's kind of the second part of the analogy and so here is the activity and again nothing earth shattering but it's something that I found very helpful in order to do this.
The first thing is that you need a place that you can ID it up you can just get anything that comes to your head and pull that off and dump it on somewhere and so that could come in form of, I walk around with a little note book, it just fits in the back pocket so it's just a small little pocket notebook and a pen or a pencil and you just put that in there and you can also use note cards a lot of people use note cards if you don't want to walk around with that thick thing, you could use your phone. However using your phone leads in the temptation sure warning you get distracted you see notifications so I prefer, I think there is something about having that tactile experience of writing things down along with avoiding the distractions that come along with using your phone.
I would recommend not using your phone, invest it in a notebook they are very cheap I will put a link in the show notes keyy.io notebook where you can, the one that I use, the one that I like about the pens that I use, no particular about pens these days I don't know why, I think just certain pens they write better and so it's easier to get the ideas flowing.
Second thing now this is actually pretty big, this is something that I stumbled upon it's really hard for me to sleep in the complete silence. I use the sound machine via a sleep app. The one I use is sleep pillow, you can search sleep pillow you can find that there is million app out there but what I notice is that when I am sleeping because I have trained myself over you know years and years of using this sound machine to fall asleep it triggers, it is like an anchor that triggers me into a different state of mind, it allows me to start pulling myself in, start blocking out the outside things in the case that I have been using this for years and years to fall asleep but now I have started using this sleep app well I want to trigger myself through that anchor into a deeper state of thinking.
I put the headphones on that helps kind of avoid the distraction, kind of blocks out the outside noise and then I throw out a one of the sounds in the sleep pillow app or in the sound app and so the one I use is the thunderstorm, you could use rolling waves, you could use crackling fire whatever it is for you that you enjoy that helps you get in that state because it's kind of like very positive ongoing light sound it's not distracting, it doesn't pull those thoughts away, if you listen to music a lot of times the music, the lyrics, the band's whatever you will start pulling yourself out of there and so I found this to be very helpful.
In addition to that I will put my phone on aero plane mode and just avoid all those distractions. I have already turned off all notifications on my phone, all badges, all note anything like there is the only way I can know that I have something new is actually going into the app but on top of that I also have put it on aero plane mode just to completely avoid that and then the last thing that I do before I kind of embark on the actual idea part of it is it's important it's absolutely key to get into the right mental state.
So I am going to do a whole another keyy.io episode on how to change dates just like that in a future episode but for this one what I want to talk about that's kind of the cliff notes version which is the easiest way hands down to easiest way to change your state your physiology get moving around, get that blood flow moving and that will help you immediately change your state and so what this looks like what I do is, I do about 2 to 4 minutes, leading towards the 4 minute of deep heavy breathing, so I do a lot of inspiration around Wim Hof if you don't know Wim Hof you can search for him, I will also put in the show notes, 2 to 4 minutes of deep breathing, deep breathing will do a lot of really cool things within your body waking up and at the very end of those 2 to 4 minutes, I take a deep nice inhale through the belly, through the chest and I hold it and I flip and I go and do as many pushups as I can right again for those who follow Wim Hof you probably have seen his exercise he does there.
I do as many pushups that I can until I can't do anymore and that is an amazing way to automatically trigger your state, you also do things like purpise I know everyone hates purpise, I actually like purpise, purpise are awesome for triggering different state along which is jumping honestly after I do the breathing, after I do the pushups then I just do 30 seconds of jumping up and down, nice and late, nice and smooth and that is another way to change state.
Again while you are doing all this, this is like a physiology part of it, the other part that you can be doing is visualizing in your head so again I am going to do a longer episode that digs into just changing state but one of the quick cliff notes things that you can do is visualize a time in your life previously where you were in a state of confidence, state of urica you had a great break through moment it felt great maybe you were working on some creative project, you were drawing, singing, you were dancing doing something and you are just in that amazing feeling and what you are doing in your head while you are doing this breathing, while you are doing pushups, while you are doing this jumping is that you are associating yourself back into that memory.
You are seeing the world through those eyes and kind of really living that memory as it's happening now and that's going to help trigger a lot of things in your brain and you know there is some science behind that visualization within your head of that happening and you can always magnify it to make things bigger, brighter more exaggerated and that will help you exaggerate that state as well that's like the last part. So recapping we have our pocket journal, we download this sleep app where on we are listening through our headphones, we have our phone on aero plane mode and we have done, we have changed our mental state through physiology and visualization from here you are ready, ready to start deep thinking and what I found is that we are meant to be outside, we as humans are meant to be outside and so when you can get outside there is something about it, I don't know what about being around nature, even if there is no nature around you, you live in New York city just walking around and being in the outdoor areas allows your brain to start feeling deeper thoughts.
I typically would just go for a walk that could be the easiest thing for a half hour or 45 minutes walk and if you walk to work, may be you have 20 minutes walk to work do that, do all those stuff and then on your way to walk you can start doing this deep thinking, you could also take time to your walk and then sit on a park bench so there is a couple of routes that I go for my walks and I sit on particular benches reflect there but get my high hands down recommendation is get outside. There is that cliché saying that I am a firm believer that is the biggest ideas do not happen behind your desk you got to get out there.
So while you are doing that write down in your journal everything the good, the bad, and the ugly like literally like I just brain vomit everything down on the piece of paper small, big. Even if you have a bad idea and you are just like I don't want to put this down because it's not good, it's going to linger in your brain and the more it linger there, the more it sucks your attention back to it and pulls it away from bigger better things just get it down, just dump it out and that will mentally free your brain up a bit, you get to those bigger, better ideas.
Literally I have notebooks of fifteen or twenty pages of garbage ideas or just a massive page in order to get to that one solid page of idea. So 15 to 20 pages of garbage to get one solid page you are like fuck I wish I could just get to that one single page in the first place but what I found is that, is that journey of writing and dumping those ideas and kind of melting all those ideas in different pages that allows you to get to that one solid page in the first place.
If you are like I don't want to do anything until I get to that, I don't want to do anything, I don't want to write anything until I get to that one solid idea that I can write down you are never going to get to that Idea it's a journey to get to that just dump everything down on a piece of page and in your notebook.
Now the last thing that I am going to tell you on this and then we will wrap it up for here today is that this isn't something where you are like ok I need to come up with the big idea I am just going to go on a walk, I am just going to do this thing and it will just come to me and I will have my urica moment I will be able to go back and keep moving along with back into the forest mode. Think about this it's like what do they say when should you go to the bank for a loan. They say go to the bank to get a loan when you don't need it right or get the line of verdict at the bank when you don't need it.
When you need something you are going to put all this extra stress, extra pressure on yourself to make it happen and your brain doesn't work like that, your brain many times you need to get into this kind of half conscious, half unconscious state and just let things kind of marinate and that marinating may take a day, may take a week or may take a year for that urica moment to happen and so what I want to wrap this up is that the key is not to just say ok I am going to do this once, I am going on this walk, I am going do this thing and then that's it or put that extra pressure words like I need to come up with an idea so I am going to go on a walk and then all you are going to think in your head it's just going to be annoying.
You should be doing this on a regular bases it should just be part of your routine that you do, you know once, twice, three times a week just go on these walks with no expectations, no expectations on coming up with anything big and that's the point when you go into the walk just noticing nature, noticing the things around you, just kind of letting your mind flow.
No pressure of needing to co-op with something that's when it happens, it's not when you put yourself in that situation that you have to come up with something on your walk and so just make it a habit block off you know what I have been doing lately, I have been trying to get in a habit of is to twelve to one p.m eat my lunch for half hour and then just go for a walk for half an hour or vice versa go for a walk and then eat my lunch but it's just a part of what you do every day and you go on these walk with these everything that I have mentioned without the expectations of coming back with a next big thing or coming back with a big idea just keep doing it and I promise you that idea will come when it's suppose to and it may take a week, it may take a month, it may take a year at some point that things going to hit you.
It takes that kind of reputation and that habit of doing this in order for to get that in the first place. That is the habit that I have taken on to myself that has helped a lot with just kind of idea generation and I hope you can get in the habit of doing it and if not then it's just a nice habit to get into it clears your mind, it's like meditation, it's like get out of day to day stress and kind of regroup and think about the bigger things in life.
So I would venture to say it's probably that would be well worth your time to try it out. Thanks for listening and if there is someone that you work with that you think this would be valuable to if there is someone you know, a family member or a friend feel free to share this, make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel because put this all the time if you prefer podcast subscribe to the iTunes feel free to leave a review if you enjoy this I am always curious on what you think so leave a review and until then I will see you on the next keyy.io bite sized bits take care will talk soon.