Monday, May 28, 2012

Your 'Eureka' Moments

We have likely all experienced those moments when the answer to a question or dilemma we have been mulling over seems to suddenly pop into our heads. It often feels like it has done so out of no-where, coming from some unknown inner source. However, these answers actually come from a form of unconscious reasoning, rooted in the ways in which our brain functions.

We are constantly accumulating knowledge, through one medium or another, that our brain stores for us. Our brain though, likes organization and it is constantly sifting our knowledge to find and recognise the patterns that run throughout the different pieces of information we are collecting.  As it does, the brain organizes all of the similar pieces of information into 'chunks' that it then links to other chunks of patterns and data, forming clusters.  (with me still?)

When we are faced with a decision, our brains will think through the decision itself, looking for familiar patterns within it, looking to find a common link with clusters and chunks of information already stored.  When it discovers such a link you then flash to that larger picture, giving you that Eureka! moment.  We interpret it as a flash of intuition, coming out of the blue.

How to craft your Eureka! moments more strategically?  Here are a couple of great tips that will help you develop and learn to listen with greater clarity to your 'intuition'...

  1. Pay attention to your hunches.  You needn't 'act' upon them to start but do record them and then 'see' down the road how accurate they are.  Likely you will gain confidence in listening to your hunches in future when you take this step to 'prove' to yourself their relative degree of accuracy.
  2. Use the Red Light/Green Light game.  Picture a stoplight in your mind's eye.  We know that Green means go and red means stop, therefore green is yes and positive, while red is no and negative.  To start off you need to prime your mind to use the stoplight correctly, so start off with statements that you know to be clearly true or false, positive or negative.  For instance...  say your name and then picture the stoplight... what colour light flashes (should be green).  Now say a different name and view the stoplight in your head... it should flash red.  Do this a number of times ensuring that the stoplight is 'working' as it should.  Then...  state your decision out loud and 'see' what light colour flashes.  Whichever colour is highlighted is your unconscious mind's thoughts about what choice you should make.  
  3. Use your subconscious mind while sleeping.  We all know that our mind remains active while we are at 'sleep'. This tactic helps you direct and target it to work for you, even while the rest of you isn't working!  Just before bed, write your key thought or question on a piece of paper.  Read it over a couple of times and then go to sleep (leaving your pen and paper beside the bed).  Immediately upon rising in the morning, read the question again, writing down all thoughts that occur to you in that moment.  This is likely a 'dumping' of everything that your brain was able to pull out of its files overnight.  You may find that you wake up during the night with some thoughts... jot them down immediately to not lose them and then go back to sleep!
The next time you are stuck between two choices and you have a little voice in your head that is pointing you in one direction over another...  take the time to listen to it.  That voice is real and is often right!

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