The brain is a mighty instrument. Magnificent in its potential, amazing in its capability and fascinating in its speed. The trouble is, it’s also… lazy. It will not do any more than you tell it or allow it to get away with. A little like teenagers and cleaning up their rooms.
You see, what I’ve found myself doing recently is finding ways to distract myself from some of the more conceptually challenging parts of my role. I have chosen to call this activity ‘waiting for inspiration’! This I think is a way to make procrastination sound interesting but really it’s just to disguise that I have been unable to sustain my focus of attention in any meaningful way and have been using that excuse to jus-tify why I am being unproductive.
In exploring my own thinking and reflecting on what causes this behaviour – which I observe is fairly common for most of us, and acceptable for a time and to a degree – I recognise that it’s about prioritising tasks that reflect my motivation. Questions come up: ‘why am I doing this and is it really important in the scheme of things?’, ‘what do I need in order to get moving on this?’ and comments ‘I’ll get it done eventually’.
This level of thinking has surprised me as it’s not my usual state at all. Those questions chilled me be-cause rather than move me above the situation I was in they actually interrogate it and helped to hold me in that state of malaise like semi-stasis.
I know that all behaviour has its seat in the unconscious so realised that I had to challenge myself in a more direct way and shift the questions I ask myself to a more active state, bypassing the opportunity for the brain to find excuses ‘not to do’ and continue to cycle in the loop of inaction and indecision.
It’s a situation we all find ourselves in and I have identified the source by asking myself ‘What is caus-ing me to be indecisive and in this state?’.
The learning was clear. It is about mortality – mine and others. Two friends passed away recently – within four days of each other. These were people I shared experience with when as teens we trained and worked together as young policemen. We’d shared in recent times stories about life, career and family and I anticipated that we would have that opportunity again when I received the news of their passing.
It’s interesting – when we are willing to stop, ask and listen both to ourselves and to others – how the answer always lies within and is available if we are prepared to ask the right question.
So here I sit completing this writing and contemplating as I observe my brain delivering again. What an amazing piece of anatomy!