“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Merriam-Webster defines mindless as “requiring very little attention or thought.” You may think it is unproductive, but mindless thinking can open your mind to new insights and ideas. It begins with trust.
Opening Yourself to Mindless Thinking
Let’s say you’re working on a blog post or an article. You’ve hit a snag. The words have ceased to flow. You panic, and the discomfort sets in. Besides a recipe for procrastination, you have entered the unproductive zone.
An effective way to get out of this dilemma is to embrace it. Okay, your creativity has done a Bunbury. If you follow it to the countryside, you’ll find the missing bits for your writing project. It all has to do with a chance in thinking.
Focused versus Diffuse Thinking
When you’re writing, you’re using focused thinking. And that’s good. You need your facts at hand and all of those other thoughts scampering around in your head. The problem is that they aren’t the best at problem solving all the time—especially with new ideas.
When you give over to diffuse thinking, something marvelous happens. It’s like a time machine. Think of it like driving. With no traffic and some good music playing, you can travel hours and not realize where the time went.
Your mind wanders peaceful around with its own thoughts. Out of those ramblings, there exists some good ideas. You might not find them with your focused mind as a guide. It takes the aimless wandering of your diffuse mind and mindless thinking to find them.
Other Benefits Along the Way
Mindless thinking lets your mind explore. It’s a safe place that is non-challenging. You are free to wander. Sure, some paths lead to crazy ideas; it’s part of the process. You may find yourself in dark places, but that’s okay too. It’s the uncertainty and unknown that are the scarier prospects.
There are times when you must give yourself permission to take a mental vacation. The mind, after all, needs breaks just like the rest of you. You’ll find that you’ll come back to your work more refreshed and confident with new thoughts for your project. You owe to yourself to take some time off.