• Brock Briggs

Finding Time To Think

Do you ever have a really big problem you need to solve and you have to set aside dedicated time to sit down and figure it out? Like it isn't a problem you can't be passively solving in the back of your mind while you're going about your business? I feel like I have a lot of these. Sometimes it's personal, sometimes it's not. What's funny is that you'd think on the surface that setting aside time to figure something out is the right, responsible thing to do; I have never once successfully solved the problem in that time, until today.

It took this happening to me today to realize why I've never been able to reach a conclusion during that time and it's because I feel like I just can never think hard enough. It's not a matter of time - I've given myself 5 minutes and I've tried hours. Doesn't matter how complex the problem is. I feel like I'm not clear to tackle the problem and there are all these other things in the way. I don't think our brains and bodies abide by the same calendar. When you want to think, you will.

Part of what this writing and one of my other goals, walking every other day, has brought on enormous clarity of thought. When I'm working throughout the day, I don't have a head full of zooming thoughts battling for attention because it's all being dumped out onto these pages every day. I still get bogged down a little throughout the day - 8 hours of reviewing fiscal policy and creating financial models will do that to ANYONE. But that's where the walks have come. As I spoke about the other day, getting started was a problem. But since that first day, I've gone every day since and even two today. That's where my problem was solved today.

As I've also talked about, I'm currently on the hunt for a job. Why is it that getting a job with an undergraduate degree is more difficult than with a high school diploma? It sure feels like it. Always wanting more. Anyway - I saw someone post on social media today about hiring a position. Let me tell you it would be my dream job. Flexible, creative work in a growing field where I could be responsible for the destiny of the company. You're right there's a catch coming. I have zero qualifications for the job. Like I wouldn't even bother to send this person my resume, that's how unqualified I am for it. I immediately dismissed it.

An hour went by. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

What if that is the job for me?

I laid on my bed for half an hour thinking. What do you even say to someone to convince them to take a chance on you. That's exactly what it would be. A gamble. I asked my mom and girlfriend to put some thought into how I could word my value to someone like this, and I decided to go for my second walk of the day.

I didn't get ten steps out of my house and my brain just erupted. Lightning bolts striking back and forth amongst an eruption of fireworks. I started firing off thoughts, ideas - a true understanding of the problem. It just came to me - everything I needed to say was just there. I didn't have to battle other thoughts. There wasn't any mental clarity I needed to pursue to get there. It's almost as if we had our minds free from the rest of the wish-wash thoughts we spend our time on every day, that we would have the capacity and clear vision to understand the problem we need to resolve and what to do about it. Why has it taken me so long to find time to think?

A person I admire greatly, Naval Ravikant, talks a lot about meditation. He describes it as sitting down and thinking through each thought that pops into your mind until you're done with it. You repeat that until you have no more thoughts and you just reach emptiness. I felt that for the first time ever this week. I can't begin to describe the freedom of what that emptiness felt like. It was this freedom that led to my conclusion tonight.

Do you know when you're really excited about something you just can't shut up about it? Anything you truly believe in you is always on the edge of your seat to tell other people about how they need to get on board with it. This is going to be one of those things for me going forward.

If you don't have one already, I'd strongly encourage you to give this a try. Sit down or go for a walk. Turn your phone off, music off - disconnect from any kind of stimulation. When I walk in the afternoon it's almost too loud because of the school busses so find as quiet of a spot as possible. And just think. Whatever comes up, resolve it and move on to the next. And do that for as long as it takes.

Setting a goal to take walks were easy to do, hard to execute, but in one week's worth of practice has already paid off. Makes me wonder how I've survived 27 years without it.

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