In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down. They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope. For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.
Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms. Eureka! The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab. It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.
Creating space allows our minds to process thoughts more freely and creatively. Heck, Newton discovered gravity when sitting under an apple tree. It requires purposeful separation from the typical problem solving environment in order to let your thoughts move more freely. It happens when thinking on a problem while out for a stroll, riding a bike, or sitting out in nature (under an apple tree).
Why does creating space work? Your brain is like any muscle in your body. Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps. Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles. Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions. This is when it’s time to create space!
June is the halfway mark. You are six months into 2016. Are you where you should be? Are you where you want to be? Take time, create space, and allow deep thought to happen. The goal is not to be perfect – it is just to be better than before.
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