We have all experienced that spark of inspiration known as ‘the eureka moment.’ It seems almost preternatural in its sharpness. We suddenly grasp a solution to a problem or idea that has preoccupied us for days, even weeks. It is as if in some recess of the brain we have been working on a solution without being conscious of it. Lo and behold, it surfaces into our consciousness to our excitement and exhilaration.
We tend to have those lightbulb moments when our mind is calm and at peace. Hundreds of years ago in ancient Greece, the mathematician Archimedes was spending the day relaxing in a bath house. Suddenly, he arrived at the conclusion that the volume of water displaced by his body was equivalent to the volume of his body. Legend has it he ran naked through the streets of Athens crying ‘Eureka!’ and while this may be slightly exaggerated, it nevertheless illustrates the great joy of discovery. In the Greek language, Eureka means “I found it!”
There is a lesson to be learned from this story for all of the overstressed executives in 2017 who are searching for visionary breakthroughs of their own. It may be beneficial to remove ourselves from the everyday whirlpool of activity and let the unconscious mind take over an idea that we are working on and float a solution. We have to find an equivalent for a Greek bath — here’s how we can do it.
Nothing like nature
Although this is not everyone’s idea of a total getaway from the exigencies of the business cocoon, for most of us the chirping of birds, fragrance of wildflowers and plants, and gurgling of a mountain brook provides relief from the tension of a competitive lifestyle. It is an opportunity to let go, and truly enjoy the moment that we are in. Here, we can revel in the details that nature provides and let go of our stressors. The flash of inspiration may come right there and then or it may happen afterwards when our mind tackles the problem or idea at a later date.
Time to unplug
We have become dataists in our business lives, to the point that we are totally suffused in statistics and alerts constantly received through our digital devices. It has become a 24/7 preoccupation. Archimedes’ lesson is that this hectic modern environment is not conducive to the generation of fresh ideas. Unplugging digital gadgets for a few hours or an entire day and removing ourselves from the office environment provides a more opportune environment for that sudden flash of the brain’s lightbulb.
This is not only good for our bodies, but movement also acts as a stimulant for our minds. How many times, when biking or jogging, working out, gardening, or walking the dog have we suddenly experienced a fresh approach or new route to an existing problem that has long dogged us? Working out take us into a state of physical flow, so the conscious part of our brain becomes relaxed and allows the subconscious problem solver to dominate.
Listening to therapeutic music
Streaming your favorite music for extended periods and getting into the melodies is a form of brain therapy, which unblocks the stress and allows creative ideas to penetrate through. Like the ancient Greek polymath, we let music do the cleansing instead of water. It doesn’t matter whether it is pop, rock, or classical as long as it is music that we like and appreciate. At the right moment, when totally relaxed, we can come around to whatever matter needs a calm analysis.
We often see this as a process of removing the chatter that our brain is constantly exposed to. It seems, at times, that we have no control over what our brain processes. There are many forms of meditation, but it really doesn’t matter what method is used as long as it brings the desired result of stopping the noise, and reaching a state of inner peace and calmness. Maintaining a regimen that includes meditation on a daily basis conditions the mind to become more capable of reaching that peaceful balance. The completion of the meditation process is a good time to ruminate on personal or business related issues and seek positive inspiration.
Sleep induced insights
Not the heavy REM sleep but the light one, which feels almost like daydreaming, can provide the sublimation of the conscious brain. This occurs just before totally falling asleep or waking up before the appointed time, when we are not yet completely conscious of our surroundings. Many claim that this is one of the most propitious times for amazing ideas to surface. When this occurs, we feel like springing out of bed and shouting ‘Eureka!’.
George Mikituk is an independent small business consultant and business owner with a mission to help entrepreneurs improve their management skills. He has recently written a book featuring a DIY approach to small business restructuring, available on Amazon. His professional website and blogs are dedicated to providing practical solutions and insights to small business.