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Better Concentration

(An excerpt from the e-book/course How to Have New Ideas.)

Improving concentration and otherwise preparing your mind always is helpful in generating new ideas. This is a short lesson on just that - general preparation for an idea generating "session."

Better Concentration

When you work on something, concentration is automatic, until you're distracted. The distractions are often your own constant thoughts. With nothing interfering, you have more complete concentration, so here's a method to remove distractions, to control your wandering mind.

Are you expecting something bad to happen? Is an argument going on just below the surface of your consciousness? Are you worried about something, or in pain? Find everything you can. This self-observation is crucial, and it will get easier as you do it more. You'll start to see how many things are going on in your own head, distracting you.

Deal with these mind-irritants. Make a phone call that's on your mind, take an aspirin, apologize to whomever you were fighting with. Write things on tomorrow's to-do list, to get them off your mind. If there's nothing you can do right now, tell yourself that.

Do this exercise a few times, and you'll find it becomes easier to recognize what is just below the surface, irritating you and sapping your power of concentration. Set these mind irritations aside, and you will think more clearly.

I have read that Stephen King writes with loud music on. What distracts each of us, or doesn't, is obviously personal and somewhat unique. Do something about whatever it is that takes your mind away from the task at hand. Turn off the TV, feed your empty stomach, or turn your desk away from the window.

When you take care of the external and the internal distractions, you'll be able to focus your attention and brain power like a spotlight. Watch a child building a sand castle sometime, and you'll see that the power of concentration really is natural.

Brain Power

Another thing that effects your ability to come up with new ideas is your brainpower in general. There are some quick things you can do to boost this. I won't get into the explanations here. Instead, here's a short list of things that work.

Have a cup of coffee or tea.
Take three deep breaths.
Sit up straight.
Breath with your mouth closed.
Listen to Mozart's sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448.
Walk for ten minutes.
Take Ginkgo Biloba capsules.
Talk about something you love (try this one - it really wakes up the brain).

Train Your Brain

All these techniques become more useful as they become habits. It takes a few weeks to develop a habit, so try to use a technique regularly for almost a month. Then notice what happens when you sit down and look at a bicycle.

If you've trained your mind in "assumption challenging," you'll automatically ask things like, "Are wheels necessary?" "Does it have to go outside?" What if the "bike" was indoors, and pedaling it ran a video screen? You could "steer" through endless different scenes...

Continued in the e-book/course How to Have New Ideas.

Want the rest of the book? It's my gift to you when you subscribe to the Brainpower Newsletter (also free).

The subscription form is on the home page.

And for a Spanish-language page on concentration, visit: Concentracion


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