I’ve gone back into the Management Craft archive, to posts from February 2005. Here’s one called, Our Brains Can Only Take So Much. Enjoy.
I am coming down to the home stretch on my More Space
essay called Breakthrough Experiences (changed it from Anatomy of a
Breakthrough). While doing the research, I came across some interesting
stuff on creativity that I thought you might enjoy.
In his book, Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies four major obstacles that prevent many from expressing their creative potential. They are:
1. Exhausted by too many demands – cannot activate our psychic energy.
2. We get distracted or cannot channel the energy we have.
3. Laziness or lacking discipline.
4. Not knowing what to do with the energy one has.
Here are a few additional quotes from the book on the topic:
"In terms of using mental energy creatively, perhaps the most
fundamental difference between people consists in how much uncommitted
attention they have left over to deal with novelty."
"The fact is that there are real limits to how many things a person can attend to at the same time."
"A great deal of our limited supply of attention is committed to the tasks of surviving from one day to the next."
I think most of us know this, and yet do we carve out time to think
and generate new ideas? I am guilty of this in spades – doing too much.
There is a difference between making time and taking time. When we make
time, we are adding on to the day and may go beyond our mental energy
capacity. When we take time, we are setting time aside in the day, not
adding to the length of the work day.
Attention is a limited resource. There is just so much information we can process at any given time.
Csikszentmihalyi also acknowledges the important role of relaxation, meditation, and other mental time outs/refreshers.
Look at your schedule for the rest of the week – how are you doing?
The most important task that managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs
(and everyone really) perform is to do their best thinking on behalf of
the enterprise. We may be brilliant, but if we are burning our mental
candle at both ends, we will not generate our best ideas.
Frankly, this is something I worry about with bloggers and blog
readers too. How many feeds is too much? At what point does the
information become a bother? As bloggers, should we be cognizant of
this and post for quality, not quantity? When is linking to something
everyone else is linking to, too much linking? What are the habits of
highly effective and balanced bolggers and blog readers?
Time for my yoga tape…..