Stop the Noise and Listen to Your Life.
I have always felt lucky that ideas came easily to me.
When people ask where they come from, I tell them they pop into my head without any apparent request or rhythm.
But when my idea well is fullest, it is not when I am surrounded by what we normally consider sources of inspiration.
Instead, I think more creatively and come up with new perspectives on the rare occasions in this busy world when I can surround myself with silence.
Perhaps it is that silence allows the images I have taken in to sort themselves out and find a pattern. Perhaps by being consciously quiet I am able to be unconsciously loud.
I’ve talked to many entrepreneurs about this, and in their own way, they all tell a version of the same story.
For some, the source of inspirational ideas stems from a quiet lakeside cottage. For others it is simply their back deck with a warm beverage and a few moments when there are not demands on their time.
It is paradoxical in our world that so many people figure things out and come up with great new perspectives not when they are challenged to do so in busy offices, but when they go to their quiet places away from the noise of life.
Many poets and essayists have written about the joys and inspiration of silence as a means of allowing our true nature to emerge.
When there is not noise around us, we listen to the rare sounds with a different ear, one that is vulnerable and open. We see with more keenness than if we are squinting into the babble of voices.
In silence, I think, our imagination is allowed to find its own pace. We can be different when we are alone and quiet. We can consider what fits and what is out of place. We can see but not judge. We can judge if we wish, and not have to justify.
When we are conscious of the silence, we are also simultaneously more aware of the moment we are in. We achieve a state of mindfulness, even if we are not seeking it. Because of that, we are able to recognize the ideas that emerge from our minds, and either give ourselves to them consciously to explore them further or consider them fleetingly and then push them away.
The silence does not care. We don’t have to weigh and measure our words; we don’t have to justify our choices.
The eloquent writer David Whyte, in his book Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, (https://www.amazon.com/Consolations-Nourishment-Underlying-Meaning-Everyday/dp/1932887342) suggests we are somehow different when we exit the quiet than when we first entered it.
He tells us how it works to truly experience silence in our lives. He points out that to be silent requires our “absolute presence, and absolute giving away, an ability to live on equal terms with the fleeting and the eternal, the hardly touchable and the fully possible, a full bodily appearance and disappearance, a rested giving in and giving up; another identity braver, more generous and more here than the one looking hungrily for the easy, unearned answer.”
Perhaps we do have to take the time to walk away to “earn” our answers, and when we do so, we are rewarded with new possibilities and fresh ideas.
Either way, it is a strategy worth considering if you find your thinking becoming routine and need to jolt yourself to be more creative.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 13 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
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