For the last year, I have been living in a more rural area about 45 minutes from the city. I have really learned to enjoy a back roads driving route, which takes a little longer though has much less traffic. The trip is actually very refreshing. One reason is because it gives me time to reflect on important decisions and ideas. I can really reflect and expand on these ideas, and brainstorm further developments. I also utilize the time by listening to audio books and learning about areas where I want to improve. I may drive in quiet tranquility and problem solve areas of my life, or put on a motivational audio book and some feel good music and enjoy the scenery. This experience really helps me gain clarity. It’s one context where I’m able to reflect on creative ideas and develop the mental attitude needed to stay focused and committed. Below you will find more ideas on how to gain clarity and perspective.
Reflect on Big Ideas
Experiencing an “A-ha” moment, or flash of insight, is like discovering an important piece to a complicated puzzle. We might feel like we have it all figured out. It’s very exciting and motivating, and adds new challenges, opportunities, and learning experiences. Though we must also realize, that for a fresh idea to be fully developed, it takes many more sharp flashes of insight and a lot of reflection. We need to evaluate the creative idea to see if it is worth pursing further, and need to continue elaborating on the idea and grow the vision. A great way to gain clarity and build a bright idea, is to reflect on the idea and continue cultivating it. Ideas can always be improved. We might realize things that have been overlooked, learn ways to make the idea better, or why a specific idea just isn’t ready to fully pursue. Though be aware that things happen so fast in this day in age, we don’t have time to sit-back, wait, reflect, and develop projects for too long. In this sense, be reassured that it’s better to take action and learn along the way, than be overly prepared and planned, and never really see any results. This ties into taking action, as this reflection process will probably be happening as you’re moving forward with parts of your plan and operation.
When it comes down to it, the most immediate way to gain clarity is to simply take action. When we take action we get immediate and direct feedback. As we work through a new situation, we gain insight and knowledge along the way. Taking the first step is crucial. Do the best you can with what you have, and continue to progress from there. By taking action, we begin getting answers to questions that were before uncertain. By continuing to reflect on ideas we can build them as we go. This doesn’t mean jumping totally into the project, but it does mean accepting that no plan is totally set in stone. A road map is essential, but don’t let it’s absence prevent you from moving forward. The first steps of exploring an idea might be writing about the idea, researching the idea on the web, asking mentors or someone in the field, and reflecting on a pro and con list. Little things we do will add up in the end. Just get started from where you are.
Inspirational People and Places
“Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor” – Seneca
Hopefully, you seek out an environment that matches your values and supports your goal directed purpose. If not, you will never be able to gain true clarity. If your environment is always giving you negative and counterproductive feedback, such as, “so and so couldn’t do it, what makes you think you can” or “so and so told me that my idea was stupid and made no sense,” it will be too convenient to take the easy way out, and never start in the first place. Make sure the people and places you surround yourself with have a fair and balanced view of your future vision. Find someone who will give honest and useful feedback, while still being willing to look at the bigger picture and potential of the vision. Point being, it’s important to have a change in environment for inspiration once in awhile. Spend more time with inspiration people whom you admire and emulate. If you live in a big city and don’t get a chance to experience rural America, take a road trip. If you haven’t experienced a large metropolitan city, it’s important to know the cultural and creative experience you’re missing. Either way, if we stretch our comfort zone and alter the same old routine we will gain clarity through growth and open-mindedness. A change of pace can also provide the means to clear our head and take a break from the tedium of everyday activities. This can provide a perspective change simply because we get a chance to reflect and think without interruptions. It can also be a time to cultivate feelings of gratitude and appreciation. In general, a change in our environment helps us keep a fresh perspective. We can learn from every new place we visit and experience we have.
“Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one. People learn as they teach.” – Seneca
I am passionate about learning and education and have found one of the best ways to learn more about an idea or topic is to teach it to others. By teaching an idea to someone else, we are forced to truly understand the idea and learn as much as possible through research and preparation. In the process of educating and improving ourselves we gain clarity and better understanding of what it will take to achieve our goals, and how the idea really applies to us. By teaching others we also get feedback from their response. We may hear a counter perspective that adds clarity, or we may see that there is more to the idea than we previously realized. Teaching others also feels great and gives value to any interaction. I really enjoy spending time with people who I always learn something from, who are considered a “teachers teacher.” Those people that always leave us with something more. Who always impart knowledge for the sake helping others grow.
How does the ‘Big Decision’ fit into you life?
When working toward getting our personal needs met, or maintaining relationships, it is important to consider how big decisions impact other people in our life. A change in one domain of life, will ultimately affect other domains, and we need to consider any potential negative consequences. When it comes to relationships, ask yourself, “How much does the relationship mean to me?” “How much does my personal goal mean to me?” and “How will commitment in these two areas affect each other?” There may be some compromise that needs to be made. If it’s a highly valued relationship, you want to make sure the relationship is secure and will not falter because of a new opportunity. On the other hand, if the relationship is unhealthy and toxic, it may be time to set your sites on your dreams, as opposed to giving all your energy to someone who doesn’t appreciate you. Just remember that relationships are a major key to happiness, so be certain to gain clarity in how this area of your life will be impacted. I know I left out many ideas and suggestions, so please comment and share your insight. How do you gain clarity and perspective?