Unlock the power of the unfocused mind. A book by Dr Srini Pillay about learning through less focus. During our entire lives, whilst growing up, we are taught to focus. How to put your mind to learning that one task at hand. Whether it’s walking, holding that spoon and bringing it to your mouth or quantum physics. The best way to learn would be to concentrate and do that one thing, over and over again. Now maybe, when it comes to walking, that is the best way to go. Though, as Dr Pillay argues, the mind is a muscle. To train a muscle the countermovement is as important as the movement in order to grow. Some might even argue ‘the race is won in bed’ meaning to say, great athletes become great athletes by resting effectively.
Now, resting the mind is not all there is to it;
'When it comes to unfocus, it’s not just ‘rest’ and ‘time away’ that are important.
Instead, in the context of greatness, unfocus will help you express different sides of yourself. Immerse yourself in a sense of purpose, examine past experience from different angles. Think outside the logical sequences and imagine. And then express your vision of the future. In every instance, you have to finesse your relationship with rational thought so that it is not a burdensome obstruction.’(Dr Srini Pillay, Think less, learn more. Unlock the power of the unfocused mind.)
This might sound like, looking at an issue or concept from different perspectives. Like thinking outside the box. But that’s the thing, it’s not about thinking. And it’s not about looking at something from different angels. To unfocus means to draw, paint, sing, dance, knit, clay, make hand lettering, even just writing something by hand. It's about reshuffling your furniture, gardening, designing clothes. It’s to visit a museum, a concert or doodle in your notepad. That is the way the mind gets to relax ánd come to a creative view on a topic. Without thinking about it specifically.
Have you ever had the experience where you lost something or you couldn’t come up with a name and after searching the house, car and internet you just gave up. To, whilst cooking, suddenly remember putting your keys in the glove compartment or whilst brushing your teeth, running into your bedroom, spilling toothpaste on your clothes as you shout out that name. This is the mechanism Dr Pillay is referring to. As your thinking brain gets a rest, other areas are activated. You’re now more fully using your brains’ capacity instead of only partially during your focused thinking sprints.
Your full brain
If you combine this idea with the ‘follow your heart’ and ‘listen to your gut’ advise you often receive when faced with a difficult decision or choice. It’s more than your heart or gut at play here; it’s engaging your full brain.
If you ask me, we could all use some more of our brain, or gut, or heart for that matter. When it comes to creating a more sustainable energy system. We tend to drown ourselves in rational thought processes and debates on how to make this work. We listen and are convinced by rational arguments about money and the way the system works. Well, the system doesn’t work anymore, let’s come up with something better and lets use our full capacity to do so.