What to do when you need a breakthrough

Our brains crave patterns like I crave coffee. If I don't have coffee in the morning, it set's off a chain reaction where I seek my caffeine fix in new and creative ways all day long.

Interestingly, our brains behave in a similar fashion when faced with a novel situation. You've likely experienced it before when you've flown, or gone on a road trip. Thoughts and ideas start to make sense, you're focused, you're creating without needing to be prompted.

Why? It's because your brain loves patterns.

When you change your environment, your brain is confused (temporarily) and it kicks off a hyperactive pattern-seeking response known as the Kafka effect. It turns off auto-pilot and starts intentionally processing all the new inputs. The amazing side effect is that your brain won't just focus on finding patterns for your present situation. It will look for patterns everywhere, working overtime in the background.

So, if you feel like you are in a rut, try intentionally (and safely) shifting your environment - what you feel, taste, see, hear, and experience.

10 ways to hot-wire your brains to search for patterns:

  1. Take a new route to work

  2. Eat lunch at a new restaurant (bonus points for menu's you don't understand)

  3. Listen to a new podcast or radio station.

  4. Read a new book

  5. Take a class on a new

  6. Have a conversation with someone you've just met

  7. Walk away from your work (yes, it really works if you change to a new, and novel, location)

  8. Create a new outfit while at the store

  9. Ask a young child tell a story (the less sense it makes the better)

  10. Learn a new board game

  11. Visit an art gallery

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