What if I told you we spend almost 45% of our day ( when not sleeping) on an autopilot mode? That’s roughly 7 hours out of 18 (6 hrs of sleep) available hours we spend doing things on an automated mode. We have termed this as habits, the daily routine which is more or less similar unless you’re mindful of changing it.
Most of us don’t even think twice before doing routine activities and the problem is work has also become a part of this. We have started working (to pay our bills ) on automatic mode, mindlessly without thinking just applying what has been ordered to us. How long do you think we are going to survive like this, let alone thrive?
If we don’t spend time thinking we are never going to be creative. No creativity would most likely lead to no invention, which means no development. The automatic mode most definitely helps our brain conserve energy as it stores information about your routine activity and then allows you to do it on a daily basis.
The brain’s first and most relied upon instinct is to conserve energy. Remember when you read exercising is really good for your body but when you try to actually hit the gym your brain slowly creeps in the thought of how uncomfortable it is going to be. Then suddenly you have thousands of reasons to not go. That is your brain trying to conserve energy, avoiding any discomfort even though it is good for your body.
What should you do if not live on an automated mode? Well, you should think and reflect. That’s how you can develop more on your ideas or synthesize them to create something unique. Let’s see why it is so difficult to think.
Blaise Pascal said:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone
In an experiment performed by Timothy Wilson a psychologist, most participants would rather give themselves a mild electric shock than sitting idle with just their thoughts. Why do you think we avoid sitting and thinking through things? Our brain naturally gravitates towards negative thoughts and makes us feel miserable. It feeds on this negativity and hence in order to avoid this situation we don’t want to think.
The originality of ideas is based on thinking and reflecting. If in today’s world where most work is knowledge work as opposed to physical work (to earn ) in the past, you’re not able to think it is going to leave you at a great disadvantage. Think of what will happen when these automated tasks would be performed by machines much faster and in an efficient manner than we do it.
Let’s look at one of the reasons why Jeff Bezos is as successful as he is today. I believe it is because he thinks differently than most of us. His ability to think and think differently along with no fear of failure is amazing. Like here,
Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour. If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75 hours a year saved.
So that we can get a dollar figure, let’s value the time savings at $10 per hour, which is conservative. Seventy-five hours multiplied by $10 an hour and subtracting the cost of Prime gives you value creation for each Prime member of about $630. We have 200 million Prime members, for a total in 2020 of $126 billion of value creationSource: Amazon Shareholder Letter
Now how many businesses think of value creation in this way? Or rather how many businesses even value customers’ time? Very few in my opinion.
The point here is to highlight that no matter what field you’re in, what age group you’re in, and irrespective of what you’re trying to achieve you have to THINK.
What to think about you ask? Well start with letting your mind wander around, give it space and time to roam around with different thoughts. Observe and write the most interesting ones according to you or the ones which you like the most. No matter how different or stupid they sound write them and next time you sit to think start by building on these ideas and thoughts. Discuss them with people you trust and refine them. You’ll be amazed by your ability to think.