The Importance of Making Space to Think

Scott Hajer
Principal, Dallas Office

Praise the smartphone! Podcasts, music, video, news briefs – I am almost always consuming something.

For most people, this is status quo. We look at our phones, check Facebook, tweet something, watch HBO Now, read articles, listen to music. We can’t stand in a grocery store line without looking at our device. The problem is that we have become a society of inputs all the time. We are uncomfortable with peace, silence and – dread the thought – boredom. The unfortunate consequence is that we’ve forgotten how to think.

At our company – to advance to the Principal and Vice President ranks, one must complete a Point of View. The POV is sort of like a dissertation. You come up with an idea that is new in some way and that will add value to the company and to our clients. This process requires you to go deep. As I thought about my own POV, doing my research, choosing the topic and then refining it, I decided to shut out external electronic inputs. I adopted an electronic silence policy – walking, driving, my train commute… all were done without interference. I found that it really opened up my thinking. Ideas suddenly came to me, even when I wasn’t trying to think about my POV topic.

It so happens that there’s plenty of science that supports my approach.

I recently heard an interview with Judah Pollack, an author who is working on a book called Wiring the Breakthrough Brain. I heard him on The Art of Charm Podcast, which I could not recommend more highly. Turns out that neurologists have discovered that the human brain has something called the default mode network. This is a part of your brain that is active in a wakeful resting state, when you are not processing excessive external stimulus.

There is a reason why Thoreau and Einstein took walks to think. They may not have known the science, but when you walk it’s just enough physical activity to keep the blood flowing, but not so much that it draws blood from your brain. Plus, walking is a muscle memory activity, i.e. you do not need to think about walking in order to walk. Consequently walking (without ear buds in) is an excellent way to activate your default mode network.

The take away here is that if you really want to think, to figure out something, you need to stop feeding your brain with external electronic input. What you’ll find is that your brain will keep working on the problem even when you are not consciously trying to solve it. When you’re driving, walking, falling asleep, waking up, just hanging out, your brain will be working for you. Just stop getting in its way and enjoy the silence.

I’m interested in your techniques – How do YOU make space to think?

Scott Hajer

About the Author

Mr. Scott Hajer is responsible for building and driving Pariveda’s experienced hire recruiting strategy and for managing the national recruiting team. His primary focus is on a continuing transformation of the organization toward a relationship-driven approach. He functions in the marketplace as a pro-bono career coach and advisor.

More Perspectives

Perspective
by Bruce Ballengee
Teaching Roots Run Deep
Perspective
by Kent Norman and Kevin Moormann
I’ll be Home in Five Story-points
Perspective
By Russell Clarkson
Is your Ecosystem a pipeline or a platform?
Perspective
by Dimitrios Vilaetis
Business Capabilities: a Spotlight for Strategic Decision Making
Perspective
by Russell Clarkson
Mark Your Exits
Perspective
by Bruce Ballengee
Leadership and Company Culture
Perspective
by Kerry Stover
I Know You Believe You Understood What You Think I Said
Perspective
by Brian Duperrouzel
How to Handle Management Kidnapping
Perspective
By Russell Clarkson
What Chuck Yeager Taught Me About Disruption
Perspective
by Brian Duperrouzel
Lessons on Project and Team Management
Perspective
by Bruce Ballengee
Consulting that Focuses on the Individual
Perspective
By Bruce Ballengee
Developing the Individual
Perspective
by Lori Dipprey
Why Performance Reviews are Here to Stay at Pariveda
Perspective
By Nathan Hanks
What it Means to be "in the People Business"
Perspective
By Bruce Ballengee
Pariveda Fin-Centric Design
Perspective
By Bruce Ballengee
Unleashing the Power of Humility
Perspective
By Mike Strange
4 Reasons to Leverage the Power of Small Teams
Perspective
By David Watson
The Benefits of Working in Teams
Perspective
by Sean McCall
Forget Coffee- Energize Your Work Morning
Perspective
By Allison Esenkova
Wearing Heels to the Top
Perspective
by David Watson
Work-Life Balance
Perspective
by Allison Esenkova
Listen to the Still Small Voice
Perspective
By Kerry Stover
Must Read Books from the COO
Perspective
By Russell Clarkson
Why You Should take a Massive Open Online Course
Perspective
By Scott Hajer
The Importance of Making Space to Think
Perspective
by Sean McCall
4 Ways Sports Can Benefit Careers
Perspective
By Russell Clarkson
Stand Up for Good Presentations
Perspective
by Derrick Bowen
How Much of your Project Value is At Risk Due to Cognitive Bias
Perspective
by Susan Paul
Capabilities as Building Blocks
Perspective
By Susan Paul
When Corporate Culture Undermines IT Success
Perspective
by Kent Norman
Limit, to Win It
Perspective
By Brian Duperrouzel
The Case for Onshore Technology Teams
Perspective
By Tim Hurst
Unlocking Marketing ROI Analytics
Perspective
by Brian Duperrouzel
Hippos and Cows are Stopping Your Machine Learning Projects
Perspective
By Jack Warner
Building Smart Deployment Pipeline
Perspective
By Tom Cunningham
The Sound of the Future
Perspective
By Scott Hajer
You Need Only One Kind of Recruiting Technology
Point of View
by Ansley Galjour
Continuous Brand Engagement
Perspective
By Marc Helberg
3 Ways You Can Begin to Take Patient Experience More Seriously
Perspective
By Ryan Gross
What Does It Really Mean to Operationalize a Predictive Model
Perspective
by Sophie Zugnoni
Did You Catch Machine Learning Fever?
Perspective
By Collins DeLoach
What does Cloud Transformation mean it IT?
Perspective
By Mike Strange
Untangling and Understanding DevOps
Perspective
by Clayton Rothschild
Blockchain in an Enterprise Setting
Perspective
by Mike Strange
DevOps a Practical Framework for Technology Process and Organizational Change
Perspective
by Julio Santos - Finity Member
Context as Currency
Perspective
by Oussama Housini
Why DevOps?
Perspective
by Dave Winterhalter
Data in the Dugout
Perspective
by Brian Duperrouzell
3 Tips to get the Blockchain Ball Rolling
Perspective
by Victor Diaz
6 Things to Consider when Choosing a Data Visualization Library
Perspective
By Julio Santos and Jon Landers
How Customer Context and Smarter Algorithms will Power the Next Level of Experiences and Engagement
Perspective
by Mike Strange
Can We Predict the Future?
Perspective
By Brian Duperrouzel
No Estimates, No Approval, No Dice
Perspective
By Marc Helberg
How AI Will Affect Your Patient’s Experience
Perspective
By Sean Beard and Brian Orrell
Life After Mobile
Perspective
by Phillip Manwaring
Let Serverless Solve the Tech Problems You Don't Have
Perspective
by Mike Strange
Bigger is Not Necessarily Better
Perspective
By Marc Helberg
Patient Experience – Taking the Next Step Through Machine Learning
Load More