Full Speed Ahead

There's a lot of talk about quieting the mind, but there's more available to us if we learn about how the mind works.

Full Speed Ahead
When I walk around corporations, what strikes me is how busy people's minds are. It is very difficult to get people's full attention.
— Sandra Krot, The Future of the Workplace

For most of my life, my mind has been running full speed ahead with no awareness of what else was available to me. In fact, we can gain access to knowledge from beyond the mind when we learn how to quiet the mind and gain a better understanding of how our mind works.

One of the most important things I learned over the past ten years is gaining a new understanding of how the mind works — and how it doesn't.

This understanding may have impacted my thinking, creativity, and growth more than any other factor over that period.

Gaining this understanding came through many people I interviewed at Forward Thinking Workplaces, including Michael Neill, Dr. Dicken Bettinger, Sandra Krot, Ken Manning, Alan Seale, Mara Olson, and Dr. Helena Lass,

I have also been greatly influenced by the books and practices of Eckhart Tolle, Sydney Banks, Dianne Collins, Michael Singer, Hale Dwoskin, and many others.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic came from Sandra Krot, Human Dimension Consultant and co-author of Invisible Power when I interviewed her for Forward Thinking Workplaces.

When I walk around corporations, what strikes me is how busy people's minds are. It is very difficult to get people's full attention.

Have you noticed and experienced this too?

When I think about my own experience, I remember that my mind was racing from the moment I stepped into the office until I walked out the door.

And when my mind got tired, I sometimes forced it to keep going, so I could get more done and mark another item as done on my to-do list!

Although I wasn't a complete zombie. Over time, I learned to take more time-outs by going on short walks around the building or parking lot. I'll have more to share on this below.

Now I know I could have been much more productive, creative, a better listener, and less stressed if I hadn't let my mind take over and run my life.

My first glimpse of the power of a quiet mind

My first glimpse of the power of a quiet mind came in the early 1990s. At the time, many database software development tools were coming on the scene for personal computers that were becoming very popular.

These tools were powerful, and I taught myself how to use them for my own personal productivity. It was only a matter of time before I found myself working as a full-time software developer, which I never imagined I'd do.

Then came the mother of all projects. I found myself working on a large software development project that was beyond the capabilities of these software tools and beyond my abilities to boot.

It may have been one of the most challenging work situations I have ever found myself immersed in. During this time, I also discovered the power of taking a walk around the parking lot.

Day after day and multiple times throughout the day, I would encounter a technical challenge that I had no idea how to approach or solve. No clue, really.

In complete desperation and with no answers, I started walking out of the building to take a walk around the parking lot. That's when I discovered the power of a quiet mind.

Repeatedly, and I don't think it ever failed me, the answer I needed would drop into my mind during the walk. It was genuinely stunning at how well and how consistently it worked.

These weren't ideas I already knew and had forgotten. These were genuinely new ideas I had never encountered before. I now believe those answers came from beyond the mind. That's the enormous potential power of taking time out to step away from your work.

A number of years ago, I shared this story with Joseph Jaworski, a well-known leadership expert and the author of Synchronicity and other books. Jaworski said to me, "Bill, if more people started doing this simple practice, it would completely revolutionize the business world."

But there's much more to it than a quiet mind

There's a lot of talk about quieting the mind, but there's more available to us if we learn more about how the mind works.

I believe understanding how the mind works based on The Three Principles may be one of the most important things you can learn. At least it has been for me.

You can tell people, "You just need to quiet your mind, clear your head, or be mindful." But that's like telling people you need to lose weight or stop smoking. It's great information, but to be able to pull it off, you have to see in the moment what actually is filling your head up. — Sandra Krot, The Future of the Workplace

When we learn how the mind works, we move into the territory of being more fully present all the time. I liken it to having a quieter mind 24/7 without the need to engage in practices like walking about the parking lot or meditation. When I first experienced it, it was like the volume control in my head was turned way down, and it no longer had the power to drown out everything else.

One of the results we hear from our clients when they realize how their minds actually work is they say to us, "Wow, I can't believe how much more present I am!" They discover that a whole set of capacities and abilities shows up when they become present. They feel more insightful. They feel more creative. They feel that they can see the bigger picture and get perspective. It's not like they're not already doing this. These capacities show up more often when their minds are free of unnecessary and unproductive thought. — Sandra Krot, The Future of the Workplace

If you'd like to learn more, the links above will lead you to the people and books that can help.

What has been your experience? What did you find most intriguing here?

Please let us know in the comments below and start a conversation!

— Bill

Bill Fox|Forward Thinking Leadership
Reimagining you, leadership, and workplaces from the inside out to grow forward-thinking leaders and workplaces of the future — today.