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The secret to seeing the big picture
Think. Write. Lead. - Issue #62. Spending time in nature is a precursor to leading thoughts.
My business mentor once told me about a builder in North Carolina who had wanted to expand nationally for years but could never figure out how to do it.
One day he decided to retire. He put someone in charge and went deep-sea fishing for 3 weeks.
While staring at the vast ocean for hours, something happened in his brain.
He began seeing his business through a wider lens. Ideas came like a flood.
Now he knew how to expand his business across the U.S.
He went back home and back to work. Two years later his business was in multiple states.
And what works for business strategy and innovation, works for thought leadership.
The cool thing is that there's a scientific explanation for what happened to the North Carolina builder.
It all starts in your brain.
You've heard about the left and right sides of the brain, right? One is logical, the other one is creative. Well, it turns out that you need both sides of your brain to be creative.
But thought leaders need to use the right hemisphere a bit more.
While the left is detail-oriented (sees the trees), the right captures the big picture (sees the forest).
Thought leadership requires you to expand your perspective and consider the broader context of a problem.
Now, consider these three cool scientific findings:
Broad vistas broaden attention. When you see into the distance, let's say the horizon, your mind also sees into the distance (figuratively).
Spending time in nature is a precursor to leading thoughts because nature helps the ACC (remember the anterior cingulate cortex?) consider new possibilities. Being in small, cramped spaces has the opposite effect, shrinking attention and making you focus on the details.
Long walks in the woods reset your brain. Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies.
So get out of your tight space, write outside, and walk in nature. Put your desk by a window.
Or go deep-sea fishing. Whatever suits your fancy.
Do you have a writing space conducive to creativity (that activates the right side of your brain)?
Are you taking breaks from your screens to look at wide spaces?
Is hiking or observing nature part of your routine?
What changes do you need to make to your working space and/or habits to help your brain expand its horizons?
This week, go for a walk before you write. No need to think hard about your project. Just let your mind wander and explore new possibilities.
So far in this series, we've gone over two elements that will prime your brain for coming up with novel ideas: a good mood and open spaces.
The good news is that open spaces and nature will also improve your mood.
These techniques build upon each other.
They may not seem too important, as they're more practical than academic, but they're scientifically proven to affect your outputs.
And as a writer and thought leader, you will be judged by your outputs.
So use neurobiology to your advantage and set your brain up for success.
Your readers will notice.
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