“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers.”
—Ester Buchholz, Psychoanalyst and Clinical Psychologist
Focus and clarity are the foods of successful execution and creativity. Unfortunately, the fast-paced, chaotic information environment that entrepreneurs work in means that true focus for a meaningful length of time rarely occurs.
Producing a pitch that both excites and inspires, innovating a product or coming up with solutions to new and unexpected problems are creative processes. Creativity needs peace and quiet to flourish.
The Same Impact as 2 Joints of Marijuana
Research confirms that a steady stream of incoming information is one of the best ways to destroy creative thought and clarity. A study commissioned by Hewlett-Packard found that frequent use of emails and text messages has a detrimental effect on the brain and causes a noticeable drop in IQ, equivalent to smoking 2 joints of marijuana.
Uninterrupted thought is a precondition that necessitates time away from the laptop, smartphone, office or other distractions. Unfortunately, along with not taking enough time to prepare a spellbinding pitch, people rarely allow themselves the necessary space, peace and quiet.
Our increasing obsession with being available and connected comes at the high price of creativity and clarity. This obsession also impacts the attention given by the audience receiving the pitch. Entrepreneurs who have pitched to a group of investors will frequently report that one or more of their audience members spent much of the meeting using their smartphones.
The Enemy of Execution and Strategy
Reading and responding to Tweets, friend requests and emails put us in a reactive state, which is not conducive to a proactive execution mindset. It is also impossible to achieve the clarity of mind necessary to effectively strategize and plan.
The solution is simple. When you need to focus, find a place that you cannot be disturbed or distracted. Turn all phones off, close down your email and switch off your computer. Ideally, be somewhere peaceful, away from your office or workspace, so that the residue or reminder of noise and distraction does not impinge on your creativity. Then begin.