I can promise you the possibility of a breakthrough in sustainable productivity if you will be an earnest sojourner along the following three access roads to the mindset required. One is paved by a psychologist/best-selling author. Another has been carved out by a Master Certified Coach. Number three is a garden path, created by me.
1. Focus is Everything
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow.
I highly recommend his book (even if you’ve read it before): Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
During our daily lives, we tend to split our attention into multiple directions. For instance, we might be reading an email from a client while simultaneously talking on the phone with tech support to help with a printer problem.
To experience flow, however, you must direct your focus and concentration towards a single activity. This single-tasking feels good and is a rewarding experience since it allows us to lose ourselves in the task at hand and not overwhelm our minds with other issues.
The posted description of this book includes: “During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. [The author]…demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance…[and] teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.”
2. When Something Doesn’t Quite Feel Right…
Steve Straus, Master Certified Business and Life Coach, writes, “An important distinction to note is ‘off balance’ vs. ‘unbalanced.’
“When you are off balance you know it, you feel it, and you take steps to get back in balance. An off-balance condition calls for correction. Think of a gymnast doing a routine. He or she knows when things are not right, adjusts, moves on. And sticks the landing!
”Unbalanced lacks the awareness of off balance. Awareness of what to do about it. Awareness of what in-balance is like. Awareness of the cost(s) of being unbalanced. The heart of it is being unaware of being unbalanced.” https://steves3minutecoaching.com/
When you are stuck, become hyper-interested in everything you are feeling and thinking. The good news is that just by noticing you are stuck, spinning your wheels, or bouncing off the same thoughts over and over, shows that you are aware. When you are aware, or realizing you are “off balance,” you can do something about it.
3. How Nature Can Reset Your Perspective
Getting nowhere with a blog, speech, or chapter you are trying to write?
You probably just need a “breath of fresh air.”
A mind reset can be accomplished in many ways.
The most reliable way is to walk outside, preferably through an area with more plants than people.
Even if it takes some planning and effort, at least occasionally get yourself somewhere you can wade into a stream, ocean, etc. The water washing over your bare feet has a dramatic effect. Like foot-washing became symbolic in the Bible, it accomplishes more than cleaning the sand off.
During your commune with Nature, focus on what you are hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and sensing. And tasting, if you’re like me and have to lick a drop of sea water off a finger to fully connect with the life blood of the planet—ocean water.
Out in Nature, it won’t take long for the scrambled, heavy, or gnarly thoughts in your head to lighten up.
Obsessive thoughts before my walk today—how to push a client to hurry up without being pushy—how to replace assistant who never, ever makes work his priority—how to pay off debts…
During walk—took photo of huge, flat-topped, red mushroom—shared with daughter by texting “Delicious or Poisonous?” (As if I were really making that decision! Ha!) Chuckling to myself over the most minuscule drop of humor, at least one endorphin entered my brain with a puff. Then a lizard smiled at me and I smiled back. So there.
Heard splash in nearby pond and went over to verify probable suspect. Saw no frog, only minnows, which reminded me of my childhood experience splashing water with my feet up onto the beach of our lake, trying to have a minnow or two land in that splash, so I’d have bait for my brim fishing. Very fond memory. Deep breath, slow exhale.
Distinct smell of a blooming magnolia tree is easy to notice. And, coming from that tree, a duet of song birds. Approached cautiously, striving to see and identify the mezzo-sopranos. When one politely moved out to the end of a branch, I practiced noting each detail I could… black beak, black eye mask, light grey chest with white, long tail with black, white and grey, etc. I’ll look it up later. Just curious.
Ah, ha! My curiosity has been stimulated! Maybe THAT is the reset button.
Thoughts after my walk, back at my work desk….all of the above! Inspired writing, at last.