When we hear about successful people, we understand that they work incredible amounts of hours every week, like for instance the video of Elon Musk where he says he works 80-100 hours.
No doubt that hard work is necessary.
Sleep is capital
However, the lack of sleep that may result in lower performance while at work, and a much more critical missed opportunity : the leverage of our unconscious to produce solutions to complex problems.
People who claim that they can work with small amounts of sleep might be doing it in the short run, for a project or to launch something out of the ground for some months.
However, it will take a toll on them. Sleep deprivation is dangerous from a health standpoint, and will lead to lower quality of work during the waking hours.
So yes, maybe these people may do low brain intensive work, but they cannot perform without the right amount of sleep. And this, most of us probably already knew.
Leverage of our unconscious
The other element to consider, which is not as much known, is the unconscious work performed during periods of rest.
All of us have had genius ideas born in the shower or while commuting in the car, or know the expression “to sleep on it”.
These good ideas were not the fruit of our active reflection. They were the fruit of our unconscious mind at work.
And for most problems, the unconscious can be much more potent than our active thinking. But Science does not have as much knowledge of our unconscious mind as much as our conscious one.
The idea is not to leave the office without actively thinking about the problem, going for a mojito at the beach, and hope that the problem will be solved the next morning.
How to activate our unconscious mind to solve hard problems
The idea is to leverage our unconscious mind to help us solve complex problems. Here is how.
The first step consists of feeding the brain with as much rational information as possible during the day time.
Then, when you have read, and understood all the data, think very hard about the problem, without necessarily reaching a solution.
Thereafter, leave the problem behind and stop thinking about it consciously.
When the day ends, relax and let the brain get a good rest, and a proper night sleep.
Normally, in the next morning, when the mind is fresh, a solution will be easier to come by and you should feel more confident about it.
It depends on our practice, and the nature of the problems we are trying to solve. But this approach can lead to tremendous results.
One way you will know that you need to use that method
Now you may be thinking that you don’t really need this, or that you never had the opportunity to put it in practice.
I can guarantee that you will have the opportunity sooner than you think.
Have you ever been in a situation whereby you’re thinking really hard about a problem, and when you start building a solution, with time passing, it gets complex, impractical, and not usable?
Well, if you experienced something similar, it may be the sign that you should stop, take some distance and “sleep on it. Move on to another topic. And the next morning, a new solution will have appeared.
So, have you lived this kind of “stuck into a problem” situation? Have you ever experienced the positive results of “sleeping on it”?
If so, please let me know your story by dropping me a message.