By Boyd Jentzsch
Are you trying to change your life? The most precious gift you have has is imagination…a free roaming spirit to build a new reality in your mind as you seek ways to build it in your life. For that you need a renewed sense of self, of life, and forging brighter paths to a better future. It is not the big things that get in the way of that thinking, it is the myriad small ways that intercede and trip you up.
The creative spirit needs time… to reflect, to re-think, to “get down into the weeds” of what it is all about…what it ought to be. The enemy of that process is triggers. When the illusive “train of thought” pops up to deliver new ways of seeing things, it gets interrupted. Fragile “insight” evaporates. You can’t hold onto the transitory thoughts while you attend to something else. The flow of fresh ideas evaporate, and cannot easily be recaptured.
To enable that flow of creativeness, to spur that “out of the blue” thought, you have to quit being sidetracked. Even when you are alone — especially when you are alone — it is easy to be pulled into interesting stuff you want to see.
In fact your phone has been set up, and many of your favorite apps, plus your email server, are all designed precisely to show you the stuff you are most interested in seeing. It learns what you want to see, and when you want it. It is designed by your active participation, to be disruptive of your train of thought. And the great majority of those interruptions are things you are not going to ignore.
You are seduced by making sure you only see what you want to see. So, when your phone chirps, buzzes or rings, when your watch vibrates, you know you WANT to pay attention to it. You WILL pay attention to it and drop your current thought to switch to that NEW thing that was just triggered.
It is nearly intoxicating to set your life up for the random immediacy of alerts to interesting stuff. Yet that is precisely why you need to channel it… why you shouldn’t allow it… not if you want to preserve your creative, and un-programmable flights of imagination.
You need to know when to turn on your “notice” triggers, and when to turn them off. Don’t settle for ignoring the triggers, because ignoring them is just another way of paying attention to them. Once you see the headline, once you hear the teaser from the notice, or feel the tickler on your arm… just knowing there is something waiting for your attention is tantalizing. You will be wondering what it is all about. It’s an intellectual striptease. The better you are at customizing your devices, the more you can’t ignore them. You are hooked on the striptease, and are seduced into relinquishing your precious creative space to make sure you stay connected to “what really matters.”
You need “Trigger Free Zones.” The bigger and longer lasting those Zones are, the more space you create for being spontaneous and creative. Plan your TFZ’s for several times a day. Your stress will go down, your creativity will go up. And your mental productivity will expand.
How will you create your Trigger Free Zones? When will you begin to do that? Or, do you need to set up a schedule to figure it out…and set an alarm… a trigger, to make that a reality?