If you study the lives of people who have had Eureka moments, you’ll discover that their breakthroughs almost always came after extended periods of intense, conscious effort.
They worked, they noodled, they struggled. They abandoned all hope, they recommitted — and then the breakthrough came. And often at the most unexpected of moments.
They weren’t buying lottery tickets at their local deli, hoping to win a breakthrough fortune. They were digging for treasure in their own back yard.
Rene Descartes (Mr. “I-Think-Therefore-I-Am”) got the Scientific Method revealed to him in a dream. Elias Howe arrived at the final design for the lock stitch sewing machine in a dream. Richard Wagner got the idea his uber work, Das Rhinegold, while stepping onto a bus after long months of creative despair.
In other words, the conscious mind works overtime in an attempt to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Unable to come up with the solution, the challenge gets outsourced to the subconscious mind, which then proceeds to figure things out in its own, sweet time.
Of course, all of this assumes we are listening to that still small voice of wisdom within us.
Well then, what’s a not-so-still, left-brained, bottom-line-watching business person to do if he wants to increase the odds of tapping into his inner Einstein.
Here’s a start:
This week, keep a log of your most inspired ideas, intuitions, and dreams. When something pops for you (an inspired thought, an inkling, a sudden insight) write it down — even if it doesn’t make sense. Then, at the end of the week, read your log.
Look for clues. Notice patterns. Make new connections. See what insights come to mind — and if they do, let us know.
Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.