As we start a completely new year – a marvelous success technology of human imagination, full of possibilities and potential – I want to encourage you to pause and think.
Without pause, you’re in danger of continuing in mindless inertia instead of mindful intention.
Without pause, you’re likely to make a common mistake.
If you don’t specifically create an interruption in your time and your attention, you could very easily miss things in your life that should be thrown out.
You could easily overlook things you’ve been tolerating in your life that have no place in your life to come – the new year.
You could very easily miss the opportunity to engage in some “vision time” where you get to imagine amazing new worlds of your own creation, amazing new adventures of your invention, and to consider incorporating them into your plans for the next 12 months.
Every creative person needs space – physical and mental – to imagine, to notice, to resolve, to invent, and to plan.
So, first, pause!
“Think”, is actually a deceptively big word.
It’s one of those words that contain so many potentially different ideas, and mean so many different things to different people, that to use such words is to risk miscommunication.
Many people put “worry” and “think” in the same “experiential” folder of their brains.
They say, “I’m going to go home and think hard about this problem” when they mean, “I’m going to go home and ‘toss and turn’ on my bed about this problem, until sleep, finally, mercifully, takes me away from it.”
Others habitually – and harmfully – muse about their regrets, past embarrassments and roads not taken.
And finally, when it gets to the actual thinking, we often do it very haphazardly: Arbitrarily, unstructured, unfocused, and in the midst of distractions.
In contrast, here’s what I mean when I say, “think!”: Engaging in scheduled, intentional and systematic processes of “focused dreaming or imagining”, idea/choice generation, and/or problem-solving and analysis.
White space – mental space – and dedicated physical space, are indispensable inputs to effective thinking of this type. It is work. It is not always fun, though it often can be.
This is especially important for thinking to gain clarity in a muddled or confusing situation.
Long before you make a New Year Resolution (if you do), or install a new morning ritual, or finalize your annual strategic plans, create some visual “white space” – in your calendar, conducive work space for creating, and boundaries for your family, friends, and social contacts.
If you intend to have an impactful new year in 2022, this is a very good first step.
First, pause. Then, think.