The quality of our minds directly determines the quality of our lives, including our work. When we take care of our minds, everything else takes care of itself. Take care of the roots, and the fruits will take care of themselves.
A common question I receive once people read my book is, how can we possibly not think during work? Don’t we need to use thinking to solve problems or to achieve our goals?
To answer the question, I would like to propose one:
Are we more effective in work and solving problems when we are stressed and anxious or when we are calm and at peace?
The quality of our mental state is directly correlated with the quality of work and solutions we create.
The way to create better work is not to “try harder” (which is ambiguously difficult to do), but to remove what is preventing us from performing at our peak capacity.
The most common culprit that inhibits us from doing so is our minds, which create negative thinking and emotions that self-sabotage our abilities.
How much more creative and productive would we be without the negative chatter in our minds?
If thinking and planning in such a way for work causes suffering, then it is best to let go of that thinking. Usually, when that happens it’s the same cause, which is that our thinking is creating a story within our minds that causes our suffering.
In our work, we usually need to solve problems, and the best way to solve problems is to not be in a fight or flight mode. We are naturally good at solving problems. It only feels like we aren't when we are getting in our own way by overthinking to the point of being overwhelmed. Being stressed, anxious, and fearful drastically decreases our productivity, performance, and creativity.
This is when non-thinking comes into play. Another word for non-thinking that is more Western and more easily understood in the context of work is “flow”.
When we are in flow, we feel completely immersed in the present moment with what we are doing. We have laser-like focus, perform at our best, and are able to execute what’s in front of us at our highest potential. It feels like nothing else exists other than what we are doing, and we aren’t thinking about anything else.
In actuality, we aren’t really thinking at all. We are just doing, or more accurately, being.
This is a state of non-thinking. This is when we are most creative, productive, and joyful (which is when we create our best work).
Non-thinking is not about having no thoughts. It’s a state where we are not projecting our own personal opinions onto thoughts we are having and creating stories about them that create suffering. When we are in flow, there is no story. We don’t even feel the “self”. The concept of separation does not exist and we feel like we are “one” with what we are doing.
When we are in a state of non-thinking, we aren’t constrained by our past, cognitive biases, patterns, and habits. We enter the unknown where all possibilities exist and can draw from it to create better solutions.
When it comes to problem-solving or navigating life without the baggage of personal thinking, we are open to many more perspectives and solutions that come in the form of thoughts.
If we are too busy overthinking, we have no space for new insights that would contain the solution to what we are working on.
This is also why we have many ideas come to us when we are relaxed, like in the shower, leisurely walking, or anything somewhat mundane but calming. It’s because we aren’t projecting our own thinking about our thoughts, have a wider awareness of things, and are in a more open (or receptive) state.
Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness [or thinking] that created it.”
Non-thinking is how we can let go of the thinking that created the problem in the first place to expand our consciousness of new solutions we couldn’t have been aware of in the state we were in.
This is how we can create our best work.
In short, the state of our minds directly affects every aspect of our lives, including work. When we take care of our minds, everything else takes care of itself.
Take care of the roots, and the fruits will take care of themselves.
With All My Love,
P.S. I wanted a physical reminder to help me remember how our thinking is the root cause of our suffering, but I couldn't figure out the best medium for it. After spending months of creatively exploring different options, working with many different designers, and scouting multiple manufacturing companies in the US, I finally created something I loved.
It's a metal coin with a beautiful design of a lotus with an inscription that says, "The moment we stop thinking is when our peace begins." On the back, it says, "Thinking is the root cause of suffering."
It's $12.99 for one coin plus shipping if you would like one for yourself or for a family/friend. Currently, I'm only able to ship it within the US.
I only created 100 for now as I didn't know how many people would like one, so make sure to order yours before they're sold out.
I truly hope you love it as much as I do.
P.S. If you enjoyed the article and want to read more like this, you may click here to view all articles I've written.
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