Written by: Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
With COVID-19 pandemic pushing most of the world to quarantine and social distancing, now we have more time than ever to be with ourselves, to think.
Some find it annoying. For some, it's a trying time on mental well-being. Conversely, what if this was the best opportunity to create a habit that puts you in a group together with the world's most successful people?
4 T's: Take Time To Think
I call this habit 4 T's: Take Time to Think. It's nothing more than spending some time alone, letting your mind wander without feeding it anything other than maybe a beautiful view of nature (when you can).
Did you know that Bill Gates, founder and former CEO of Microsoft, would go off-grid twice a year for what he called a "Think Week" (1)? He would spend that time entirely alone, disconnected, reading, writing, and thinking. Such week was his planned time to think creatively, and many of his most genius ideas, including Internet Explorer, were born during the thinking time.
Furthermore, if you're a parent like me, you've seen this phenomenon emerge with your kids. When my kids have free playtime, they can up with the most fascinating ideas! Some of which are amazing to watch, and some not so great to clean after. The thing is, we as adults need to allow ourselves to do the same!
It's especially important when you are running a business. In the current ever-changing times, as the CEO, owner, leader, you need to be able to pivot fast and be creative, not only to keep up with the current times but stay ahead of them.
Creativity and Business?
Now you're probably thinking, but Maggie, the creativity it's the arts, not business. Let me then use Mary Lou Cook's definition (2):
"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun."
Don't you love it? I think this definition captures the essence of creativity and shows that it's all around us propelling innovation.
If you think about it, innovation i.e., the ability to continually reinvent your business, is key to staying competitive in the market. That's why for you, the leader of your business, nurturing creativity should be one of the top priorities. And in case you think you don't have the talent to do it, the research shows that creativity, as we defined it here, has nothing to do with genes. As Dr. Robert Epstein (3), an American psychologist, professor, author, says: "There's not really any evidence that one person is inherently more creative than another."
What's known, though, is that stress and fast pace of our daily lives kill your creative thinking abilities. In other words, days filled with stuff to do from dusk to dawn leave no room for your mind to wander and be free so that it has time to come up with new ideas.
That's why now, in the middle of the COVID-pandemic, one of the exceptional opportunities we have to benefit from is a slower pace of life for most. It's additional time we have that we can now take and turn into a habit of allowing ourselves to think. Whether it's just by sitting down in your garden chair, on the couch, or in the shower, if you let your mind be, it will surprise you with a plethora of ideas you can use to grow your business.
"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking." ― Friedrich Nietzsche
The best way, though, to nurture your creative mind is by spending time in nature.
Its not only Bill Gates who's an example of that. As a matter of fact, David Strayer (3), a neuroscientist from Utah, through his research on the psychological and cognitive effects of the outdoors, has found that time spent in nature enhances higher-order thinking, restores attention, and boosts creativity. In his 2012 study, Strayer found that backpackers were two times better at creative problem solving after they had spent four days out on the trail.
All in all, all of us are creative human beings. What differs is how we express it. Some of us are great artists, some inspiring athletes or organizational leaders, and some brilliant entrepreneurs. What we all have in common is that we need time to think without the need to do something specific. We need it as kids, and we need it as adults.
So tell me, do you already practice this? If you don't, then my call to action for you is to try it. Starting this week, block some time in your calendar and just do it.
It's easy to remember mantra 4 T's: "Take Time To Think." And take a journal and pen with you to write down any great ideas you come up with during this time.
Maggie Perotin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maggie Perotin is a business and leadership coach, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses without the overwhelm so they can live the life they want. Through her DREAM-PLAN-DO coaching model, she helps her clients reach their potential and get results while maintaining balance in life.
Maggie has over 13 years of coaching and leadership experience in the corporate world in various domains. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations, Facility Management Administration designation, and currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Jack Welch Management Institute. Maggie uses all her knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs be strategic and creative in building a successful business and brand that attract their ideal clients. She is passionate about spending quality time with her blended family with four kids in the Canadian nature, traveling, self-development, and healthy cuisine of the world.
1. Wall Street Journal Article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB111196625830690477
3. Dr. Robert Epstein. https://drrobertepstein.com/
4. David Strayer. https://psych.utah.edu/people/faculty/strayer-david.php