Blog: Changing the world from the depths of your bathtub

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Changing the world from the depths of your bathtub

Your brain on autopilot guides you more effectively to the place you truly want to be going. But what activities can help your brain go in auto-mode?
Changing the world from the depths of your bathtub

Let’s face it. History has proved that the desk isn’t really the place where world-changing ideas are conceived. 

When Archimedes stepped into the hot water in his bathtub, he noticed that some water was displaced when he got in the bathtub and spilled out.

His discovery that the water displaced was equal to his own body weight would change the world forever. 

So the question which remains is, whether there is some method to this madness?

Brain scientists think so.

Science has shown us that concentrating on particular tasks deactivated certain areas of the brain, while idling (yes, spacing out and doing nothing!) increased blood flow to those areas, leading to a more creative and ‘happy’ brain, running on autopilot. Your brain on autopilot guides you more effectively to the place you truly want to be going. 

So what’s the secret to path-breaking ideas and realizations? Take a break!

For the workaholics out there, that’s probably the last thing we want to hear. I made a shift and asked myself important questions early on - what do I enjoy outside of work? What are my passions? What is it that helps me switch off?

The answers, for me were straightforward - I love movies, and I love music. While, luckily for me, my work at Shemaroo is largely concentrated around both these passions, the truth is that work is still work.

So could I treat my passions with more respect and give them more attention? Yes, I could. 

I started off by creating an environment that allowed me to consider all aspects of my being and existence. For starters, I engaged with my body and gave it more attention. Running is a regular part of my daily schedule. A few weeks into my runs, I discovered my love for running marathons. I’ve always felt running a business was comparable to running a marathon - short, easy strides taken continuously over a long stretch of time. You keep all your energies directed towards the long term until your goal is finally achieved.

My brain these days seems to be a lot happier. I rarely pace through problems, but find myself exploring them. My intuition seems to have opened up. I've learnt to trust my gut feeling more. And my ideas are a lot more creative than they used to be

My yoga practise, on the other hand, helped me slow down and build greater awareness of my body and mind. Yoga brings your mind and body together in a way that no other activity can. Today I alternate between doing yoga and training for my run every alternate morning. In addition, I meditate every single day before I step in to work. The result? I’ve had more energy and stamina than I’ve had before, and my body cooperates with my mind even in the most strenuous of situations!

My evenings are designed to help me wind out after an active day. Another aspect of my being that I embraced was volunteering. These days, I volunteer at the Isha Foundation. Volunteering and community service grounds me, and I love that feeling. Many of these activities help me get my brain to ‘autopilot’, and I often get back to work focused and even readier to take on new challenges. 

Along this path of self-discovery, I stumbled upon the art of mindfulness - experiencing the essence of each activity. Truth being you won’t get a life-changing idea in your bathtub if you’re busy planning your day while you’re in it. So as much as you tune in to your work to get things done, you’ll have to drop out as easily when you’re not. Recreation helps me get to the here and now. My days aren’t hectic anymore, but instead, expansive.

My brain these days, seems to be a lot happier too. I rarely pace through problems, but find myself exploring them. My intuition seems to have opened up. I’ve learnt to trust my gut feeling more. And my ideas are a lot more creative than they used to be. 

Am I going to find a path-breaking idea soon? I don’t care. I’ve done my bit by creating the right environment. I’m training for my marathon. Playing with my kids. Looking at the larger picture at work. Life is short folks. Play hard, and have fun. You will soon change the world.

Topics: ExpertViews, Life @ Work

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