Personal Productivity

The Value of a Mind Adrift

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
tags Focus Science
"A mind adrift lets our creative juices flow." ~ Daniel Goleman

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The Value of a Mind Adrift

I have to say that I am finding extremely interesting the reading of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, by Daniel Goleman. In my opinion, knowing how to pay attention where we need to do it at every moment is, probably, one of the most valuable skills today, and also, one of the most difficult to achieve. This book addresses the issue from a perspective based entirely in science, which gives the material exhibited a special relevance, well above most of the common posts and guru-tips you can find on the internet.

In addition, it appears that some of the research being carried out in recent years have led to conclusions that go against what until now seemed logical and are, at least, pretty amazing. In particular, I am struck by the fact that we have always valued much more a focused attention directed toward goals that an open and spontaneous attention.

According to Goleman, there are different forms of attention, and each one has its applications. It turns out that a wandering mind may, in its way, bring us closer to our goals. The wandering mind is the default mode of our brain, that is, the way it acts when we are not doing any mental task. And so far it was kind of an enemy to beat, because when the wandering mind comes into play, it appropriates our attention to the detriment of the task that we are running and, apparently, of our performance.

However, when the wandering mind takes control, our thoughts are directed toward our concerns and unresolved issues. Somehow, this type of attention is also at the service of solving problems that affect our lives.

When our mind wanders, a number of very positive events take place. Our creativity is unleashed, allowing us to face problems that need a more intuitive approach. The circuits we use for a more intense concentration take a rest. And self-reflection is facilitated.

Do not confuse this mind adrift with things like browsing the internet or social networks. These things do not facilitate at all the open awareness you need to make interesting findings. On the contrary, this type of activity blocks your ability to innovate. A nature walk or a few days of relaxing vacations help to get into that state in which we always find small keys that bring us to higher goals.

The difficulty lies in being able to contemplate what our mind adrift shows us and catch it so we can develop and apply later. Hence the importance of being aware and collecting the stuff that come to your mind at any time. The new ideas cannot flourish if they have no permission to do so, but if you do not capture them, they will fade away.

Francisco Sáez

Francisco is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a Software Engineer who is passionate about personal productivity and the GTD philosophy as a means to a better life.

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