An Aha Moment or The Light Bulb Came On!
by Irwin Lengel
Since the first of the year, life has sort of interrupted my overall scheme of things. You know what I am talking about, those things you don't expect to happen but happen anyway. Such has been the case with us.
As a result, I have been struggling recently with how I can get back into the swing of things like writing more often, doing more chores around the house, exercising, eating right, and well, probably everything most of us, at one time or another experience. The crazy part of this whole scenario is that I know what I need to do – it is just a matter of doing it. Then recently, as I was thinking about how to make these changes – I had what could only be described as “An Aha Moment or The Light Bulb Came On!”
Usually the time I think about things I would or should be doing is when I am about to do something else. You know, guilt feelings like – why am I doing this or going here and there? I have so much other stuff I should be doing or would like to be doing. Being retired is fun but can also drive one crazy if there isn’t a plan. But then I guess that is why I sometimes say: “Yes, there is method to my madness.”
So, I decided to do a little research into the matter and realized that I should outline steps that will enable me to be more creative in my thinking – sort of re-activate my brain in such a way that will enable me to move forward doing the things that not only need to be done but those things I still want to do during my retirement years.
An article I wrote recently mentioned “quiet time” and while we all love being around other people, sometimes we just need that “Alone time” especially if we are attempting to make some changes in what we do and when we do it. So, the first step in this four-step process is allow yourself some down time, alone time, quiet time or whatever you want to call it.
There are all sorts of quiet time – one could meditate, take a short walk, or close your office door for ten or fifteen minutes so that you are not interrupted. Anything that will enable you to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Believe it or not, it has been found that silence and solitude can go a long way towards enabling a person to have an “Aha Moment.” Time spent alone like this may give you the insight you need to spur you to a plan of action that will start you on your way towards moving forward with those things you find most important in your life at this time.
But that is just the first step of a four-step process. During these few moments that you have been able to carve out for yourself – you need to focus on your inner thoughts which is the second step. Don’t spend time thinking about what is going on around you. If you have your cell phone with you, turn it off. It is at this time that we should focus internally and do what some call “mind wandering.”
During this mind wandering phase, hopefully our minds will think of innovative ways to change our daily habits enabling us to incorporate some of the more important things we want to do into our daily schedule.
Like incorporating a thirty- minute walk into your lunch hour instead of just eating and sitting for the whole hour or getting up an hour earlier so that you work some writing in before your day begins. Another thing that might help is remembering that we can say “No.” Do not over-schedule your day. We all need some downtime on a regular basis even if only little fifteen or twenty- minute increments.
The third step to consider is to think positive thoughts. Let’s face it, even if we are only feeling slightly happy versus slightly anxious we can still create an “aha” moment enabling ourselves to think of a more insightful method to create the desired result we are looking for.
If we are happy, we are more apt to take in a wider range of information being considered than when we are uptight and concerned about something other than that which we are supposedly working on. I know, speaking for myself, I am more apt to be more insightful when I am in a positive mood than when I am in either a negative or anxious mood.
So, should we be in a grumpy or unhappy mood, before attempting to tackle any complex decisions, make it a point to raise your spirits. Take a nap, talk to a friend, go out to eat, or even read a book thus getting your mind to disassociate itself from negative thinking. Who knows – your brain might thank you by coming up with exactly the solution that will solve your problem.
Sometimes when I have an important decision to make, I feel like I have to think long and hard before arriving at that decision. But – you know, step number four is that sometimes not making an effort to choose what to do might just be the appropriate decision to make.
By taking a break from thinking about the issue at hand sometimes enables my nonconscious thought process to become activated or in other words even though I am not thinking about the problem at hand, my mind is working on the problem unconsciously. By leaving space for quiet instead of hashing and rehashing the problem – being internally focused – a more positive approach to the problem appears enabling me to have more insight into the problem and how to solve it. In the end it will be an insight-driven decision that is being made and hopefully one that will enable me to solve my problem.
To sum up – the four-step process I intend to follow as we move forward during our retirement years in order to both enjoy the time and accomplish more reads as follows:
Step 1 – Allow myself some down time – me time, if you will.
Step 2 – Focus on my inner thoughts
Step 3 – Think positive thoughts
Step 4 – Be cool and do not rush – ease into the decision
Better late than never keeping in mind:
The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power!
What about you? What are your plans for the future?