#250: Try Managed Solitude To Solve Problems
Saturday, March 06, 2010
How often are you by yourself every day? Not with the TV or radio on in the background or the children playing in the next room or your spouse hovering nearby. But, alone, by yourself in total silence?
For most of us, we get precious little time alone to simply think about our problems and opportunities.
It's sad, because research has shown that managed solitude works.
In his book, "The Magic of Thinking Big," author David J. Schwartz tells of a professional development program he conducted with 13 trainees where they were asked to close themselves off alone for one hour every day for two weeks with no distractions. They were to think constructively about anything that came to mind.
The results? Each trainee reported the experiment to be practical and worthwhile. One man discovered a way to resolve a problem with another company executive. Others solved problems about changing jobs, marital difficulties, buying a home and choosing a college for a child.
Each participant also reported gaining a much better understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses than ever before.
But the most important discovery they made after two weeks of managed solitude?
Their decisions and observations made alone during their solitude had an uncanny way of being 100 percent correct. They learned that when the fog of distractions is lifted, the right choice becomes crystal clear.
Managed solitude pays great dividends.
Try to set aside at least 30 minutes every day to be completely by yourself, perhaps before the family awakes or when everyone is off to school and work or at night after they have all gone to bed. Even while soaking in a tub of hot water.
Then do two types of thinking: directed and undirected.
Directed thinking is focusing on a major problem you're facing.
Undirected thinking allows your mind to choose what it wants to think about. Undirected thinking is helpful in self-evaluation, to answer a question of how you can do better or what your next move about something should be.
As Schwartz concluded: "Spend some time in managed solitude every day and think yourself to success."