If you were to ponder the biggest decisions that you have made in your life, such as getting married, starting a family, buying a house, setting up a business etc, how much of that decision do you think was made by ‘thinking’ versus ‘feeling’?
When I’ve asked that question before the average response has been that ‘thinking’ was 20% of the decision-making process versus 80% which was attributed to ‘feeling’.
If I were then to ask you the same question for decisions which are made in business every day, those percentages reverse and it’s pretty obvious why.
In business any new idea that we have needs to be sold through the hierarchy and therefore needs robust logic and rationale behind it.
The major problem with our thinking dominating our business future is that we tend to apply it far too soon. We don’t let our feeling, or our gut or intuition, help us develop potential ideas in the early stage of their formation, and thus we miss out on potential genius.
To understand a little more about what we are missing out on, we need to explore the relationship between our conscious thinking versus our subconscious processing.
Our conscious brain is a fantastic thing. It’s what makes us smart, rational, and logical. When we are sitting at our desk thinking hard we are deploying the full power of that conscious brain. It’s brilliant at keeping us safe and deploying our wealth of experience. It is however limited in its potential to be creative. Nobody knows how much of our processing is conscious but research would indicate that it’s somewhere between 5% and 10%.
Our subconscious on the other hand, has the capacity to remember huge amounts of information. Recent research suggests we may never forget an experience that we have. It may be stored in a strange way but it’s all in there. Not only that, it processes even when we’re asleep, which explains why we often wake up before our alarm clock stirs us. It is therefore the portal to our creative genius.
If I were to ask you now where you have your best ideas, my guess would be that it’s not sitting at your desk thinking hard, but it’s more likely to be in the shower, commuting to work, in bed, running, in the pub, walking the dog – anywhere but at work.
The reason for this is that at those moments you get more access to your subconscious. When we are working hard and fast we rely upon our conscious brain to direct actions and thinking, and therefore we are almost purely logic-based, and have less awareness of our subconscious helping us. When we relax however, we start to get more access to our subconscious. Without thinking, our relationship with our subconscious becomes more balanced and therefore we find it much easier to have breakthrough ideas when in this state.
So the key to creative genius, thinking expansively about the future and having great ideas is getting away from your desk and doing whatever gets you into a more relaxed state.
And then, when you are doing that, don’t ‘think’ about the ideas too much but rather ‘feel’ them.
The best creatives I know say things like this: “There’s something about this idea.” Now they can’t tell you what that something is, they just feel it, and therefore put more energy into developing it further.
There is some good time at work for thinking, and I do not suggest for one second that we stop that – chaos would ensue and we would have the most ridiculous business practice going on. However, if we were to just redress the balance and start to encourage more people to articulate what they are feeling, our creativity will undoubtedly soar.
Chris Barez-Brown is founder of Upping Your Elvis