Stewartnor Man My Blog Thinking About Thinking – Part 2 of 2

Thinking About Thinking – Part 2 of 2

Like many of my clients, I am always looking for ways to speed things up – to produce more results with the same or even fewer resources. We probably agree on this. The key is certainly not about working harder; it may not even be about working smarter. But there are definitely ideas which work, and those ideas need to be uncovered. Often you can find them through analytical thinking. In my last article I discussed this: a process of asking deliberate questions, and in a disciplined, even rigorous way, coming up with answers. Asking and answering, that’s the analytical thinking process. Do it enough and you will likely come up with something useful.

But there is a whole other process, a “something” that goes on in the mind. Many people call it intuition. Others call it “gut feel,” or “tapping the universal spirit.” In contrast to rational, linear left-brain thinking, it is sometimes called “right-brain” thinking, synthetic, or holistic thinking. I’m going to call it unconscious thinking. What I mean by this cumbersome phrase is that this kind of ideation is based on removing the linear, rational, questioning, conscious thinker from the equation, and tapping into the results when they come.
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How do you do that? Everybody has their favorite way. Several people, responding to my last article’s caveat that I was not referring to the thinking that goes on in the shower, wrote that their best ideas occur in the shower. For others, unconscious thinking occurs while driving their car. Or working out in the gym, riding a bike, or jogging. Gardening seems to be a hot spot for hot ideas. And sybarites I know report getting great ideas while being massaged and sipping wine in the hot tub.

Some people put themselves in a trance state via meditation or actively listening to music. Others go into a trance watching TV. I get great ideas when I’m at the movies. (Curiously, it doesn’t work while watching a movie on videotape — I think the level of concentration is too low — which may be a key to the way these processes work. For the car people, it only works while driving — not as a passenger. The logic behind this is similar.)