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Everything's going to be alright

Everything's going to be alright

FEBRUARY 2012

I was driving into Edinburgh for an early breakfast meeting one cold November morning, going over a particularly complex business problem in my head. As I headed along Belford Road, I happened to look up and see the building in the picture above — the Gallery of Modern Art — and, more importantly, the neon sign attached to the front of it.

The sign had been there for a while and I've driven past it many times before, but on that particular morning, it was just the message I needed.

Why? Because sometimes we work too hard on our problems with our conscious brains, while forgetting to let our subconscious mind take up the slack.

Here's a little exercise to try next time you have a problem that you can't easily crack.

  1. "Programme" your brain by spending a few minutes thinking consciously about every aspect of the problem, even doing some background research/reading if you think you need to. Alternatively, map the problem out by writing it down on a piece of paper.
  2. Forget about it!
  3. Wait for your subconscious mind to process the information, chew it over and come up with a solution.
  4. More often than not, you'll find that a solution pops into your head when you're least expecting it: driving along the road, having a shower or making dinner. That's when you know your subconscious mind has been working on it all the time.

So when I saw the neon sign, it reminded me to "let my brain take the strain."

My subconscious brain, that is.

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