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Organizing Your Thoughts (and Maintaining Your Creativity)

Being sleep deprived can really take its toll on our mental alertness.

Think about the time when you had to burn the midnight oil – catching up on those deadlines.

Somehow your brain just lost its ‘sponginess’ in the morning following the very late night (or too early morning).

And don’t even think that your favorite double shot espresso can work its same magic in that morning.

The caffeine will only add up the feeling of being ‘wired up’. You can get so ‘wired up’ that you feel like all your nerves in your head is just like an overly stretch elastic band – any additional ‘pull’ to stretch it will only break it.

Don’t despair. (Imagine your favorite jingle in the background with a crisp booming voice over advising the following solution to your (good) problem)

Clear headedness is the solution of the problem. And being calm too.

But how? Adrenaline has been flowing like crazy – you just feel like you can literally spread your wing and fly away there and then.

Introducing.. Endorphin.

Not only that it induces feeling of happiness, it also helps you think clearer (at least in my own experience). How clear? Well, do you get ideas or inspiration when you have your morning shower? Now, multiply that ‘clarity’ by 2 or 10 for that matter – depending on your level of endorphin.

[Before you get any idea of how I ‘generate’ this happy hormone into the system, let me scope down the process first. We will focus on getting the endorphin through intense endurance exercise requiring  cardiovascular fitness: running]

So.. What to do when you need to bring the sponginess back to your brain so that you can organize your thoughts and draw creative ideas from that ‘well of ideas’?

Lace up your running shoes.

Hit the road running. A good 5 km of run (or around 30 minutes) should do it!


The Uncharted Teritorry

There were times when people used to believe if they keep traveling (or sailing) ahead they will fall into a cliff because they reach the edge of this planet. They were wrong. The earth is round.

A wise man also said that we fear of the unknown.

All sorts of scenarios, possibilities, risks flash in your mind when you think about something new. A foreign environment. Different people. Different culture.

We know that we’re not going to fall from a cliff of the edge of the world when we boldly go to the uncharted teritorry.

Yet, if I can borrow Daniel Kahneman’s thoughts, in my own experience, my System 1 (the emotional side which thinks fast) almost always beats the System 2 (the logical one which thinks ‘slow’) when facing an unknown. The old lizzard brain simply overrides the cognitive function – or decision making process can get biased.

To get back to the ‘Uncharted Teritorry’ analogy, these days , we are fully equipped with advanced techonology (GPS, Google Map etc) to help us navigate ourselves into our destination – a foreign land if you will.

So, we can tap into the crowd intelligence in the World Wide Web and ask the burning questions to millions of experts. This way, we can glean into their past experience when they go through our uncharted teritorry.

But, remember, sometimes GPS too could be misleading due to several reasons. One simple example, the map has not been updated for quite sometime.

And in crowd intelligence case, the so called expert might have experienced the ‘event’ a while ago which render it irrelevant.

Still, we need to at least reduce the fear by reducing the unknowns.