Tortoise mind: using the unconscious mind

By | August 14, 2013

I went on a 6 mile run. It was cathartic, and just what I needed before my client meeting this morning. The weather was awesome, and my (somewhat) crappy hotel was actually right by a lake with tons of bridges, boats, and bi-planes. See some of the pics below. Power of the unconscious mind.

Bi PlaneTake care of your health. When consultants travel, we eat too much, eat too rich, drink too much, and sleep too little. All bad things. Fat consultants are typical. It’s worth the extra luggage weigh to bring shoes and shorts. If you are on a longer-term project, bring an extra bag and leave it with the doorman. I was once staffed on a project where I have a full duffel bag of tennis shoes, flip flops, tennis racquet, and even board games.

Bridge in ColorLet’s your unconscious do some of the work. Consultants are lateral thinkers who can tie together seemingly disparate ideas into new, innovative ways to solve problems. That does not come through brute force. Sometimes, you have to sleep on it. Sometimes, you need to go on a long-run and see what comes of it. Some people call it the tortoise mind, which moves slowly, but serendipitous towards the answer.

Houses on the WaterTap into that power. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud talked about the power of the unconscious, saying that it was much more powerful than our waking, logical brain. Taoists talk about finding “the way”, trying to achieve flow. Even Yoda talked about using the “force”

Large BridgeConsultants are not hippies. Clearly, clients pay us to be fairly type-A. We are organized, logical thinkers, with clear communication skills. We are a pretty calculated lot, and like to exceed expectations through exhaustive preparation. Yes, we are more like yuppies than hippies. We will also err on the side of thoughtfulness and logic.

Black and White BridgeBut don’t be afraid to use your whole brain. That said, we should all be self-aware to know that our best work is not always done when we are trying to focus on it.  Sometimes, we get great results when we let the problem simmer and stew in our mind. It can be a good idea to sleep on the problem, or think about it while running around a lake – not sitting in the (crappy) hotel room.

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2 thoughts on “Tortoise mind: using the unconscious mind

  1. Worfoo

    Maybe you could tell us what problem you are trying to solve (for example today).

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Worfoo, thanks for the comment. If my memory serves me correctly (not always the case, I tell you), I was thinking through the right way to run a client workshop. Had different groups of people (executive vs. line worker) with varying levels of knowledge of the topic (core team vs. new person), so was piecing together the workshop logistics, flow and messaging. Worked out fine, and the run might have played a small part of that. Will go on swim now – more tortoise mind.

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