Old School Methods Yield Fresh Results

As I sat in front of my computer struggling to express exactly what I wanted to share with you today, I realized that I might be more successful if I tried writing the old fashioned way.

Thus, I broke out a pencil and paper, and instead of sitting in front of my computer, I changed up my environment and began to write. And the words flowed wonderfully.

They flowed so well, indeed, that I decided that what came out wasn’t best shared today – but you’ll get to enjoy it later in an alternate manifestation.

What I do want to share with you is the lesson my experience evoked: the value of changing up your environment when trying to accomplish something that doesn’t seem to be happening – especially when that something happens to require creativity.

This is actually something I do all the time, though the pencil/paper approach was a new take on it. I’ve spoken before of my predilection for the beach in Hilton Head in the context of the value of rest and relaxation. One of the great things I love about the beach is its effect as a creative lubricant. My job involves a great deal of creativity, and I often do some of my most creative work at the beach. The environment isn’t the usual suited, office-furnitured, formal one of every day business, and that allows my mind to loosen and get creative with solutions and opportunities.

I suggest you employ similar approaches in your own life and business. When you find yourself facing a tough situation, a complicated problem or a stalled out day, don’t keep spinning your wheels. Try changing up your tools and your environment. Try bringing fresh perspectives into your conversations. Just don’t do the same old thing if the same old thing isn’t getting you anywhere.

How do you vary things to get the creative juices flowing?

Rest and Reflection Breed Solutions


When in crisis mode, it’s very easy to neglect any kind of rest and reflection – there simply isn’t time for them.

But if your company is doing well, I encourage you to take days like Memorial Day, when many places close and workers are given breaks, to take a little rest yourself. I know what it is to be an entrepreneur, a CEO, a businessman, etc. and to feel like the cessation of movement is the cessation of life. But it’s not.

What Was It Again

When you take time to rest a little, turning your mind off or at least slowing the chatter, your mind opens to a host of new ideas, thoughts and solutions.

Think about it like this. Have you ever been talking to someone and found yourself desperately trying to come up with a particular word or the name of an actor in a movie or the name of some author you enjoyed a while back, but you just couldn’t place it? I have to believe this universally common experience has happened to all of us many times. No matter how hard you try and wrack your brain, you just can’t remember that darn word or name.

Fine, you acquiesce, as you continue along the conversation, insuring your interlocutor that the perfect word or some person really does exist. And then, 30 seconds later like a flash of lightening – BHAM! – the word comes right into your head and out your mouth before you can finish the sentence you’re on.

Ah! What a relief. You remembered the word and your previous thought could be completed – your problem solved.

Application to Business

This works a lot for me with work. My wife and I enjoy vacationing in Hilton Head, an island off the coast of South Carolina. The beaches are deep and wide, the ocean calm and hypnotic, and there are tons of trails on which to bike and enjoy nature.

And as I settle down in a beach chair and stare out at the ocean, letting my mind wonder rather than staring at a computer screen in deep contemplation, the challenges I’d been having seem to break down and coalesce back into solutions. It’s wonderful, and it only works because I sit back and stop trying so hard to think of solutions.

That’s what it’s like when we stop concentrating on things for a little while and take a, say, Memorial Day rest. I don’t expect you to just go splash around mindlessly in the pool for 8 hours, but I do encourage you to do whatever it is that takes your mind off of the central issues in your life and business so that you can become more open to the solutions that do exist.

Consider These Options:

  • Go for a long drive
  • Go to the driving range
  • Sit somewhere with a nice view (restaurant overlooking a park, balcony near a beach, etc.)
  • Get out of the whatever city you’re in, even if just for a few hours
  • Go on a nice walk or bike ride, preferably in or around nature
  • Go swim some laps
  • If you’re a runner/jogger, go for a run/jog

Notice, too, how many of these activities involve movement, which is a great way to turn your mind to something else entirely, get your blood pumping (which stimulates your brain, by the way) and get the rest from work you need to become better able to do your job.

Those who regularly incorporate these elements or something similar into their lives often find more solutions, in my experience.

What do you like to do to take a break and turn your mind down a bit?