A step-by-step guide to finding your big idea in a somewhat surprising place.
The Internet is changing the way our brains are wired. This fact is not in doubt. What is the subject of hot debate, however, is whether this change will benefit us or be the cause of our downfall.
Image Credits : Shutterstock Socrates' view of books. Seriously.
Studies and evidence abound on either side. The latter-day Cassandras include some very respected voices – from Nobel-prize winning author, Jonathan Franzen, to technology writer Nicholas Carr. They make the case that being constantly plugged in is making us shallower and less capable of original thought. On the other side of the fence are writers like Clive Thompson and Jonah Lehrer who cite data that proves the opposite. We now have access to more information and ideas than ever before and that can only be a good thing, they say. It is our discomfort with our rapidly changing world that leads to this often fearful criticism. Didn't Socrates in 370 BC lament that books would be of no use to mankind? (Disbelievers, please research Phadreus)
Shutup and hear yourself speak
I have a theory of my own (with absolutely no data to support it). I think our brains are slowly adapating to the information overload by allowing our subconscious to do the heavy lifting. We may not be aware of it, but I believe we are absorbing much more than we did in the pre-Internet era. The trouble is that we may not be truly realizing the benefit from it. To form connections and glean a deeper understanding, we must let the half-formed ideas in our heads bake and rise to the top. The best way to do this is to sit in silence. There are many ways to do this. I recommend this routine:
1. Pre-determine the amount of time you are going to sit quietly for. Start with 3 to 5 min and work your way to longer periods.
2. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and just be quiet. You are not trying to meditate. Don't force yourself to do anything. If you are thinking of the 10 am meeting, that's fine. If you can, try and feel your breath going in and out of your body.
3. There are only 2 rules. Stay quiet and do not get up before the time you have allocated.
Do this for a couple of weeks and you'll be surprised by the results. Your big idea is already calling to you. Just stop and listen to it.
About the Author :
Storyteller, brand and design industry practitioner, angel investor, startup junkie.