The power of inaction for entrepreneurs


Thinking, relexing, reflecting - here's a guest blog on why the opposite of direct action can help nurture creativity, grow your business and improve your entrepreneurship...

I love reading inspirational and motivational blogs on entrepeneurship. They can pump you up and turn you on, get you re-focused and taking action. In fact most business related advice revolves around doing things, taking risks, and putting yourself out there. And that is fantastic.

But there is a flip side to entrepeneurship that is rarely discussed: the state of inactivity and reflection.

Whether you are creating the seed idea for a business, or during the many times when you run into a challenge while taking action on those goals and need a creative solution, there is only one proper thing to do: nothing.

I'm not talking about cracking open a beer and watching TV for eight hours straight. I'm talking about intentional inactivity. It can also be known as "meditation", but that term has a lot of baggage with it. What I'm really talking about is allowing your mind to be still, focused, and opened so as to connect with authentic creativity.

Now before this starts sounding too "woo woo", remember Napoleon Hill's classic "Think and Grow Rich". Most of the book is devoted to understanding and training the creative faculty of the mind. And while Hill stresses active states such as determination and persistence, the actual moments of creative inspiration are said to result from moments of quiet, focused reflection.

Most of my best ideas have come while mowing the lawn or taking a shower, when my active analytical mind was shut down and not trying to "figure it out". Such is the experience of many of the most accomplished entrenepeurs and inventors in human history.

Ultimately the greatest problem solving faculty we possess is that of the imagination. The creative faculty has a far greater power than the "get it done" active mind. So if you find yourself "stuck" in your business and have been thinking of "what to do" about it and haven't been getting anywhere, here's my advice: stop.

Stop everything. Sit down, and clear your mind, like your would clear a dirty mirror. You will more than likely find yourself resisting this intensely, and that is normal. The "go go go" part of your mind has been overdrive for a long time and it's going to tell you that you shouldn't be sitting on your butt, you should be doing things, making things happen, etc.

If this sounds too esoteric, consider this example. Haven't you ever lost your car keys or something important, and gone completely bonkers trying to find them? Then the next day, or once you have "given up" they just show up? The same principle applies when problem solving in your business.

The trick is not to be swayed by the part of your mind that wants to frantically find those darn car keys!

If you do so, more often than not, a new sense of clarity, vision, and creative solutions will present themselves. So chill out for a few minutes, and find your inner brilliance.

Image by Rennett Stowe on Flickr

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