The Solution for all Businesses Seeking Growth and Innovation – More “Relaxed Attention”
You might be saying what the heck is “relaxed attention?” There are many definitions of what it is and how to know you are in it. For me personally, it is that state of mind where you are in an alert state of daydreaming where creative ideas and solutions just flow. I have heard this hundreds of times and I have said it as many,that ideas will come to me in the shower. Well, that’s one kind of a relaxed attention state.
I also find myself in this state when I am exercising – particularly after one mile of my run or when I’m walking the dog and letting my mind “air out.”
I bring this up as I feel this is an ever so critical state and I did not have enough of it in my life from 2011 to 2013. You might ask, how I know this…? I know this as the innovation in my business was less than it had been in prior years. There were many reasons why I didn’t have relaxed attention – fighting fires, dealing with staffing issues, dealing with corporate office requests and just plain not putting enough value on protecting this time for myself and my business.
I’m a serial entrepreneur. And in retrospect, I have always been, even as a child. Seeking opportunities to make money and build something. I love building companies, businesses and teams – I just love the sport of it!
To build you need to stay ahead of the curve, instill your company with innovation, new products, new solutions to challenging issues or potential issues. And, most importantly, you need new products and services to serve your customer community. As the leader of your company, division, team etc. It takes finding relaxed attention time to do so.
Sometimes you just have to hold the line to insure you get your “relaxed attention” time. I also feel strongly that it’s often very difficult to get into this zone at the office with your door open. There’s just too many distractions and you never know who will walk through your door needing something.
For me personally, there are key components I have identified that help me to achieve my “relaxed attention state:
During physical activity – when the activity is repetitive, and done by myself with not too much exertion. At this point, the mind and body seem to relax into one and ideas flow.
Location, location, location – It’s key to find the type of setting and location that truly allows you to “come down” a bit and relax. For me it’s my garden, while walking the dog in the neighborhood, in my home office on a weekend when I have private time.
Repetitive activity – For some reason, repetitive activity allows me to enter the relaxed attention state quickly. Weeding the garden, walking, cleaning out a closet – actually cleaning in general. I’ve found it often occurs while I’m involved in some type of activity that is repetitive, does not require my full attention, and I feel either the task or the activity is in itself is rewarding.
Including more time for getting into the state of relaxed attention might seem like a struggle, or even battle within your current business organization, with your manager, or team, but it is key to your wellbeing. If this means that you carve out this time on your personal calendar then do it. I say this after reflecting on my downfall, as when I wasn’t finding enough time to do this, it cost me my innovative thinking and entrepreneurial sprit, and in turn. my business.
Here are two interesting articles to read about how education is now looking at the relaxed attention state in children and developing their entrepreneurial education – which seems to be a hot button these days:
New report calls for better integration of entrepreneur skills at all levels of education:
Why Daydreamers will Save the World: