Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Staying receptive to wow

In the last few days, I have read some great articles. Some, like "The Value of Beauty" and "How Local Businesses Can Benefit from Mobile Social Networks" opened my eyes to ideas I can pursue for my clients. Some, like "The Answer Factory" and "Does the Vaccine Matter" blew me away with the audacity of their concept. (Did you know that Demand Media publishes 4,000 articles and videos online every single day? Or that the healthy-user effect accounts for 100% of the flu vaccine's alleged ability to prevent death?)

When I look at my delicious page, I notice that I bookmark in spurts. Nothing for a week or two. Then five or six things in the course of a day. I can imagine two explanations.

1. Streaks are statistically inevitable.

2. Some days, I'm more open to ideas.

Either is viable. But let's assume the second hypothesis for a moment. What could I do to make sure I remain more receptive to big ideas a higher percentage of the time? I think the answer is found in a book called The Inner Game of Tennis:

In short, "getting it together" requires slowing the mind. Quieting the mind means less thinking, calculating, judging, worrying, fearing, hoping, trying, regretting, controlling, jittering or distracting. The mind is still when it is totally here and now in perfect oneness with the action and the actor. It is the purpose of the Inner Game to to increase the frequency and duration of these moments, quieting the mind by degrees and realizing thereby a continual expansion of our capacity to learn and perform.

I've never played tennis. But reading The Inner Game of Tennis changed the way I approach sports and work. Half of the game is staying out of your own way.

[Ed. - Crossposted at Ingwalson and Karsh Connect.]

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