* Note: This post is part of an ongoing series in which I am sharing the entire contents of a currently unpublished book I wrote last year, entitled: unBelievable: How to Get Unbelievable Results By Giving Up Believable Ideas. Review my blog's archives or do a search for unbelievable to see all previous posts.
The More You Turn Off, The More You Turn On
- I shut my eyes in order to see. - Paul Gaugin
- Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs
- An ounce of intuition is worth a pound of tuition. - Unknown
- Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out. - Malcolm Gladwell
- A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something. - Frank Capra
- You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. - Anne Lamott
- The heart at rest sees a feast in everything. - Hindi Proverb
- I need constant mental stimulation, or I get bored quickly.
- Sitting with nothing to do is such a waste of time.
- I need to be constantly connected to the people and things that I like.
- I hate quiet, and being alone with my thoughts feels uncomfortable.
- I'm always looking for more things to keep myself occupied from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed.
- I don't know why I always feel so busy, but never accomplish much.
Imagine you're in a crowded stadium where the home team has just won the world championship of everything! Everywhere you turn, fans are going crazy, fireworks going off, and the team song is blaring through the massive sound system above you. This place is pure chaos, and you're soaking it all in with amazement because the energy is completely irresistible!
In the middle of the stadium, amongst the all the cheering people, thundering noise, flowing confetti, pulsing music, and flashy Jumbotrons, is a man holding a sign and speaking right at you, trying to get your attention. He has something important to share with you, but you're so into everything going on around, that you don't even notice him.
Who is this mystery man, and what does he want with you?
This man is your inner voice, intuition, and know-how, and he's anxious to help guide you on your way through life.
He's been trying to get your attention for a long time, but because of all the noise and distraction that's consuming every ounce of your attention, you've never seen or hear him, and you probably never will! Unfortunately, this means you're missing out on all the good things he wants to share with you.
Now step back into reality, and let's spend a few minutes exploring your current lifestyle.
If you were to make an honest assessment of what you do every day, throughout the day, would you say that you are you constantly engaged in at least one of the following activities:
- Talking on the phone
- Watching TV
- Listening to music
- Sitting in front of the computer
- Watching a movie
- Talking to someone in person
- Playing a game
- Reading a book
Or consider this: Are you always immediately jumping from one activity to the next without a breather in between (other than to eat, drink, sleep, work, and visit the bathroom)? When you hang up the phone, does the TV come on, and when your favorite shows are over, do you get online, at least until your friends come over to watch a movie, and once they're gone, do you start playing your favorite game, and on and on and on?
In other words, are you like a lot of people - do you seemingly need constant mental stimulation, and is your brain always engaged, doing something?!?
Well, remember that inner voice, intuition, and know-how we talked about earlier? Just like everyone else, you have one built inside of you, and it has some extremely valuable insights to reveal to you, but if you never turn off the noise and distractions outside of you, you're never going to be able to hear and benefit from it, which would be a huge waste of one of your most valuable resources.
This is a resource that all of the greatest thinkers, artists, innovators, and scientists, past and present, have known how to tap into, and if you've ever wondered what it was that allowed them to do the amazing things they're are known for, this is it!
When you tune into your personal inner voice, it gives you:
- Answers to important questions you've been asking
- Insights for decisions you need to make
- Inspirational ideas for you to pursue
- A sense of when to do something, or when to not
- And so much more
When tune out and ignore this valuable internal resource by never turning off the noise outside of you, you often find yourself wondering:
- Why you can't make any sense of what's going on in your life
- Why you often make terrible decisions you regret later
- Why you feel unfulfilled because of never understanding how to pursue your passions
- Why you can't get yourself to do what you need to do
Which outcome is more appealing to you? The choice is obvious, isn't it?
So, if you'd like to hear and see what you've been missing and reconnect with your inner voice, then let's dig into how to make it happen.
First off, you need to understand that your inner voice loves quiet time - when you sit still and your brain is disengaged from outside noise and distractions. This is because:
- Calm On The Inside Allows It To Work Efficiently - Imagine trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle inside of a wind tunnel, when all the pieces of the puzzle are constantly being blown all over the place. It would be next to impossible to complete the puzzle. In a similar way, you have a huge collection of knowledge and experience (puzzle pieces) that your inner voice and intuition can analyze and organize into something incredibly useful, but it's going to be virtually impossible for it to bring it all together if, on the outside, you're always stressed, and you're always 'on', which never allows things 'settle down' inside of you.
- It Doesn't Like To Yell - When it's ready to inspire or nudge you in some way, your inner voice or intuition isn't normally going to scream at you. You're going to have to pay attention and listen for it. To do this well, you have to quiet down what's going on outside of you on a consistent basis. You need to learn what your inner voice sounds like, so when it does speak-up, you'll know it!
Now let's discuss how to bring your inner voice and intuition to life!
Let me start by saying that if you look, you'll find that there are literally hundreds of books on the topic of meditation, visualization, and similar practices. In my opinion, this is a very simple process that doesn't require much instruction as the amount of books would suggest. I mean, it's just purposeful thinking, and as a lifetime thinker already, you don't need much assistance to get good at it, you just need a few guidelines to follow:
- Turn Off The Noise - You've got to eliminate as many distractions in your environment as you can. Trying to do this exercise with the TV or loud music on in the background is pointless. I'll say it again, you won't hear what's going on inside until you turn off what's going on outside.
- Close Your Eyes - To see and hear clearly what's going on inside of you, you've got to close the window to what's going on outside of you. Your eyes are a large part of that window, so keep them closed while doing this exercise.
- Get Still - Sit up straight and comfortably, and remain still. You want to be in a state of calm and relaxation. Take several slow, deep breaths to help you do this.
- Dwell On Positive Ideas, Pictures, And Emotions - I'm not a believer in the 'empty your mind approach' to meditating. As a matter of fact, if you look at most definitions of meditating, you'll find it's associated more with reflecting, concentrating, and thinking deeply - it's an active process. So, what do you want to reflect on and think about? Think about the experience of achieving one of your goals. Relive one of your favorite memories. Think about things you're thankful for. Consider a scenario where you can apply something you've learned recently. Think about your accomplishments and what they mean to you. Ponder an important question. Consider ways to apply the wisdom in one of your favorite sayings. Words that describe this part of the process include: Emotional, visual, detailed, positive, and fun. For the best results, I'd suggest you focus on quality over quantity - spend quality time dwelling on one or two ideas each session, instead of jumping all around to a bunch of different thoughts or ideas.
- Commit Yourself To At Least 5 Minutes A Day - As with most good habits, you won't benefit from this process if you only do it a couple minutes every few weeks. Five minutes a day isn't too much to ask, is it? Especially considering what practicing it regularly will do for you. Let me be blunt, if you have five minutes a day to check Facebook, watch TV, or play a game, you've got five minutes to do this.
It's important to keep in mind that you may not experience any massive revelations in your life right away, but that's OK, because the effect tends to be more subtle than that.
Sometimes during your session you'll get a feeling about something you should do, or an answer to a problem will pop into your brain. But more than anything, you simply begin making better decisions, you become more creative, and solving problems becomes easier - and often, your ability to do these things improves so naturally that you don't even know it.
- You have an inner voice, intuition, and know-how. It's constantly at work, trying to help you, but because of all the noise and distraction that's consuming every ounce of your attention, you rarely ever connect with or hear it. Unfortunately, this means you're missing out on all the good things it can help you do.
- Are you always immediately jumping from one activity to the next without a breather in between (other than to eat, drink, sleep, work, and visit the bathroom)? When you hang up the phone, does the TV come on, and when your favorite shows are over, do you get online, at least until your friends come over to watch a movie, and once they're gone, do you start playing your favorite game, and on and on and on? In other words, are you like a lot of people - do you seemingly need constant mental stimulation, and is your brain always engaged, doing something?!?
- If you never turn off the noise and distractions outside of you, you're never going to be able to hear and benefit from your inner voice/intuition, which would be a huge waste of one of your most valuable resources.
- An inner voice/intuition is a resource that all of the greatest thinkers, artists, innovators, and scientists, past and present, have known how to tap into, and if you've ever wondered what it was that allowed them to do the amazing things they're are known for, this is it!
- When you tune out and ignore this valuable internal resource by never turning off the noise outside of you, you often find yourself wondering why you make terrible decisions, why you feel unfulfilled, and why you can't get yourself to do what you need to do.
- Your inner voice loves quiet time - when you sit still and your brain is disengaged from outside noise and distractions. This is because calm on the inside allows it to work more efficiently, and it doesn't like to yell.
- To bring your inner voice/intuition to life: Turn off the noise, close your eyes, get still, dwell on positive things, commit yourself to doing this at least 5 minutes a day.
- It's important to keep in mind that you may not experience any massive revelations in your life right away, but that's OK, because the effect tends to be more subtle than that.
Next: There's Genius In Simplicity