Gold Nugget #327: Unclog Your Brain through Unfocusing with Dr. Srini Pillay

By September 14, 2018Uncategorized

In episode 327, Dr. Srini Pillay shares why focus is over-rated and how unfocusing yields boosts to creativity and more.

Focus is great for the task at hand, but there are five disadvantages to focusing too much:

  • Brain and compassion fatigue – If you keep focusing and working hard throughout the day, you will eventually start caring less about the work and other people.
  • Blinker vision – You could be too focused on what’s in front of you to notice what’s going on around you, including cool opportunities.
  • Anticipating the future – The inability to pay attention to what’s going on around you also hinders you from predicting future trends.  
  • Creativity prevention – You fail to make innovative connections with other projects and other people, thereby failing to make anything fresh.
  • Self-suppression – You will be hyper-focused on the concrete parts of your personality, without ever bringing in your personality’s complex nuances.

When focus is the problem, unfocus is the solution; you can integrate unfocus into your day with these four techniques: 

  • Positive constructive daydreaming – First, find a free 15-minute period during your work day. Second, do an activity that doesn’t require too much brain power, such as knitting or watering a plant or going for a walk through a curving or zigzagging path. Third, while doing one of those activities, let your mind imagine something positive or wishful.
  • Napping – A 90-minute nap is ideal, but 5-15 minutes is great too.
  • Doodling – Doodling or scribbling on a piece of paper while having a conference call improves the memory by 29 percent.  
  • Psychological Halloweenism – When faced with a task you find difficult, think about a person with a quality you admire. What would he or she do? Try to embody that person while doing the task or going about your day.

Listen to the beat of your brain. Focus is like picking up puzzle pieces, while unfocus is like putting those pieces together. Our brains need periods of focus and unfocus throughout the day. Having a regular beat of focus and unfocus will make you more creative and productive.

You can protect your brain with hobbies and replenish it with a day off. Hobbies can give you a lot of food for thought and strategies on how to tackle your primary work. Meanwhile, whole days off can help re-energize your brain by taking you away from the work. To maximize a day off, do physical activities because these engage your body, which also carries intelligence in it.

For other ways to engineer creativity, try these two different types of thinking:

  • Possibility thinking – Articulate a goal you want to achieve, no matter how bold or impossible it may seem, then find a way to reverse engineer it.
  • Analogical thinking – Connect what you want to an analogy, and your brain will begin to enhance it creatively.

Listen to/read the whole conversation HERE.

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