We have all experienced that spark of inspiration that is called the eureka moment. It seems almost preternatural in its sharpness. We suddenly grasp a solution to a problem or idea that has preoccupied us for days and weeks. It is as if in some recess of the brain we have been working on a solution without being conscious of it. Then lo and behold it surfaces into our consciousness.
There is always a sense of great excitement and exhilaration when this occurs. Often, like Archimedes of ancient Greece, the light bulb flashes when our mind is calm and at peace. It was while relaxing in a bathhouse that Archimedes suddenly arrived at the conclusion that the volume of water displaced by his body was equivalent to the volume of his body. The fact that he ran naked through the streets of Athens crying Eureka may be exaggerated, but it nevertheless illustrates the great joy of discovery. In the Greek language, Eureka means “I found it!”
There is a lesson to be learned from this ancient story for all overstressed executives who are searching for new directions and visionary breakthroughs. It may be beneficial to remove ourselves from the every day whirlpool of activity and let the unconscious mind take over an idea that we are working on and float a solution. We have to find an equivalent for a Greek bath:
Nothing like nature
Although this is not everyone’s idea of a total get away from the exigencies of the business cocoon, for most of us the sound of birds, the fragrance of wild flowers and plants, the gurgling of a mountain brook provides relief from the tension of a competitive lifestyle. It is an opportunity to let go, and truly enjoy the moment that we are in – to revel in the tiny details and acute observations that nature provides. It is a cleansing process, allowing the brain to let go of the stressful material which it carries over from our business life. The flash of inspiration may come right there and then or it may be postponed until our mind once again tackles the problem or idea.
We have become dataists in our business lives, to the point that we are totally suffused with statistics and information constantly received through our multiple digital devices. It has become a 24/7 preoccupation because somebody somewhere is not sleeping in the global village, and wishes to contact us. Archimedes’ lesson is that this hectic modern environment is not conducive to the generation of fresh ideas. Unplugging all the digital gadgets for a few hours or for an entire day, and removing ourselves from the office environment, provides a more opportune environment for that sudden flash of the brain’s light bulb.
Is not only good for our bodies but also acts as a stimulant for our minds. How many times, when biking or jogging, working out in a gym, gardening, or walking the dog, have we suddenly experienced a fresh approach or new route to an existing problem that has dogged us for extended periods of time. Because workouts take us into a state of physical flow, the conscious part of our brain becomes relaxed and allows the subconscious problem solver to dominate.
Listening to our favorite music for extended periods, and really getting into the melodies is a form of brain therapy, which unblocks the stress and allows creative ideas to penetrate through. Like the ancient Greek polymath, we let music do the cleansing instead of water. It doesn’t matter whether it is pop, rock, or classical as long as it is music that we like and truly appreciate. At the right moment, when totally relaxed, we can come around to whatever matter needs a calm analysis.
We often see this as a process of removing the chatter that our brain is constantly exposed to. It seems, at times, that we have no control over what our brain processes. There are many forms of meditation, but it really doesn’t matter what method is used as long as it brings the desired result of stopping the noise, and reaching a state of inner peace and calmness. Maintaining a regimen that includes meditation on a daily basis conditions the mind to become more capable of reaching that peaceful balance. The completion of the meditation process is a good time to ruminate on personal or business related issues and seek positive inspiration.
Sleep induced insights
Not the heavy REM sleep but the light one, which feels almost like daydreaming, can provide the sublimation of the conscious brain. This usually occurs just before totally falling asleep or waking up before the appointed wake up time, when we are not yet completely conscious of our surroundings. Many claim that this is one of the most propitious times for amazing ideas to surface. When this occurs, we feel like springing out of bed and shouting Eureka.