Engagement time: 5 minutes
Practice – Depends how much you worry
Shelf Life – Ubiquitous
What happens when your mind gets cluttered with worries? What consequences does a cluttered mind have when interacting with people? How does it impact your performance?
Significantly, I would say.
Worries are like parasites, depriving you from being fully present. They soak up your creative juices that are required for your clear-thinking and for being part of the creative flow.
The more we trouble our minds the less we are part of the flow – which is essential for generating new ideas and the outpour of creativity.
There’s an easy approach to tackle this challenge by instantly resolving any arising issues – as they come, so they go, following “FIFO” or first in first out method used in managing inventory of our own thoughts. The most important task is not to allow our minds to marinate in worries and unnecessary thoughts.
When we enter the flow, we dwell in the moment of presence. For example, when you were a child, you were frequently part of that flow. Next time you get a chance, observe a child, notice how natural it is for them to be in the moment.
As years go by, we tend to clutter our minds with many unnecessary thoughts and accumulated worries, hence, there’s a good chance we fall out of the flow – to the extent where we forget all about it. It’s a well-known fact that we are all born creative, and then, creativity gets educated out of us, mostly at school. Schooling focuses on analytical way of thinking and majority of us have gone through the system that seems to derive its pleasures based on right and wrong answers that are set in advance. Whereas life doesn’t operate in a such a black & white, and only linear way. When we were children we also inherited various behavioral patterns that are not always conducive later in life. Worrying is one those patterns that appear quite innocent in the beginning, but can soon turn into an unconscious habitual behavior. Here are a few examples we can all relate to.
Throughout my life or career I rarely received an advice on how to deal with worries. The best I could hear was: ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’
Instead of being asked the question: “What is the root cause of your worry, why are you worrying you and how can you address your worries?”
Here’s my art and science of resolving the issue of worrying and overriding this old habit. To do this exercise, make sure to pick the best time of your day. Your mind should be calm and you need enough energy to grasp whatever comes up. For me, early morning, after a good night sleep, works best.
It’s fairly straightforward, all you need to do is prepare yourself physically and emotionally.
This approach is useful when you have time or you are willing to spend some extra time to do this exercise properly.
If you don’t have the luxury of time you need to learn to work on your feet, become skilled enough to create the required space and silence whenever it’s necessary to resolve the arising issue. Eventually it becomes very easy and effortless. Just like anything you master- just like riding a bike, you learn and you never forget.
You can do this exercise on your own or with a friend. Feel free to tweak as desired, as long as it works for you.
Having answered these questions, I invite you to dive deeper and analyze the situation further.
“How does worrying impact me physically? (e.g., unnecessary hunger, craving for sugar, cigarette, coffee, my arms get itchy, I get a headache, I can’t sleep, I feel tension in my stomach, I escape by getting lost watching TV, I start endlessly browsing through social media – again I escape, I am not present)
“When I worry, what’s going on with me emotionally? (e.g., I get sad, I am scared, I get angry, it makes me anxious)
“How does that impact my performance in life, at work?” (e.g., low performance, lack of focus, poor concentration, lack of confidence, lack of direction in life)
Can you notice if there’s a pattern in ways you respond to various events in life? Is there a chance you worry too often and too much?
“What do you need to change right here and now, to stop worrying?”
But most importantly!
As you go through this exercise you should be able to create some free space in your mind and feel lighter. If you notice the difference, you are ready to start humming the tune of that song: ‘Don’t worry, be happy’.
I would also advise you to learn how to harness and maintain the required silence at all times, by keeping your mind less cluttered. That means ¼ empty – just like your stomach – it works best when it’s not overburdened with food.
Important to add, you don’t have to absorb everything the world presents around you; all the sounds, interactions, people, images, information, sensations, billboards, and advertisements. The rule of thumb is, if you can’t remember what you have seen and heard at the end of the day, it’s not worth your attention.
Use your natural power of selective attention and focus, to guard your sanity and your inner space, so, you can retain the clarity of your crisp mind.
Many articles and videos speak of leadership qualities, yet only a few I have ever reviewed, grasp the importance of the matter presented above. Yet, it is quintessential to any high performing individual in life, in business, finance, sport, music, art, medicine, IT, science, etc.
The same goes for teaching, leading, managing, presenting. When you are trying to convey a message that is not deeply rooted in your own understanding and experience, with 100% clarity, your recipients won’t receive the message in the intended way. The message was lost to begin with.
And that my friends, is a natural ability of a good leader. One who is capable of capturing your attention and does not always depend on PowerPoint and an orchestra of bells and whistles.
I wish you a great day, full of crystal clarity ahead!