Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Are you a Mind-Popper?

Ideas that occur to us in moments of non-focused attention are identified as "mind-popping" in The Agile Mind.  I like the term because it's so descriptive. Occasionally, a thought literally pops up or a light pops on without a clear link to anything. It's a sign of intuitive problem-solving thinking, although it can be "released" even when you're deeply engaged in rational problem-solving — if you have an agile mind.

Most women have experienced a bright idea appearing out of nowhere and apparently connected to nothing of the moment: in the shower, watching the kids play at the park, just waking up in the morning, watching a boring TV program.  The passive "pop" isn't preceded by a purposeful intent to solve a problem or be creatively innovative. It tends to happen when people are in activities that don't require great concentration or focus: the mind can wander because the activity is routine, repetitive, habitual.

In contrast, concentrating on a new, unfamiliar topic, learning a new language for example, can cause your brain to unconsciously reach out to varied, divergent, loose associations in your mind —  and link them up in an unusual way to create a mind-pop. Because it isn't a conscious process, you can't figure out how you came up with this crazy, smart, far-out, wild thought, problem solution, or possibly useless idea, but it's fun.

Keeping a quick daily list of mind pops creates a game and maybe a strategy or solution to a problem. Go forward or backward. Where did the pop come from? What does it lead to? Maybe from nowhere and to nothing. Maybe the mind pop comes from a variety of old memories of mothering people in your life and leads you to solving a parenting problem in your life. Exercising and massaging your brain is as good and maybe more fun than exercising and massaging your body?!
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