Have you ever been to a new place and noticed things that you wouldn’t usually notice? Shopping in a supermarket in a different country becomes an adventure as you wonder at all the different products that you don’t get at home. Even the most simple activities become challenging in a new environment; taking a train in an unfamiliar place requires a great deal more thought and concentration than your usual commute to work.
In a new environment you pay attention because your usual patterns are disrupted, your brain has to take in and process unfamiliar information and more practically, if you don’t pay attention on a new train journey you stand a high chance of getting lost.
It is easy, and efficient to repeat the same patterns of behaviour day after day after day, for example selecting the same shopping list from your online shop, making a morning cup of tea engrossed in your phone or taking the exact same journey to work day after day (and if you work from home and your journey is going to the next room its even easier not to notice!). There is nothing wrong with this; we live busy lives with big pressure to get things done. However in our rush to achieve maximum output from our days we can forget to really take in our surroundings. Our focus on efficiency means we don’t notice unique experiences under our noses, opportunities and experiences are easily missed and we forget to challenge ourselves to do something new.
And when we don’t challenge ourselves with new experiences we stop learning and we go stale. Our motivation can ebb, it can have an impact on our ability to think creatively. We become like hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and we forget why we got on the wheel in the first place.
So today, notice the patterns of behaviour that you conduct without thinking, and take a moment to really observe yourself and your surroundings.
Stop. Step off the hamster wheel and notice. Stop and take a breath. Whether that’s paying more attention to your surroundings, or deliberately breaking habitual patterns, for example listening to a different podcast, try a different type of coffee or work in a different location (a local coffee shop or just a different desk will have a different angle on the world).
Taking little moments to step away notice can help reduce feelings of overwhelm, is a gateway to creative thinking and helps to keep more interest in your day.
And tomorrow consider if there is a way that you can change that small part of your non-thinking pattern again. Can you step off your hamster wheel for another moment and notice something new?
Let me know how you get on.