While I Was Milking A Cow
Good Ideas Need Some Room
You’re driving home from work and then it comes to you: a simpler way to resolve the issue you were struggling with all day.
At the driving range with your son, the subject you wanted to bring up comes more easily than when you had spoken earlier over the phone.
A change of scenery can make all the difference. American painter, Grant Wood¹, once said, “All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.” Even though I’ve never milked a cow and am allergic to hay, I understand this statement. Good ideas need the time and space to come forth.
I Do My Best Thinking When…
I can always count on doing some of my best thinking when I’m on an airplane. While it’s not possible to jump on a plane every time I need 30,000 feet of perspective, fortunately these routine activities often do the trick: taking a shower, dancing or doing some yoga, going for a walk, gardening, and even making a good sandwich or preparing a nice meal.
When I worked in a corporate setting in a hectic environment, I’d sometimes leave my office for 10 minutes, head to a remote table in the cafeteria with a pad of paper, and return with a clear idea for tackling a problem. Now that I work from a home office, I still practice the “step away from the desk” technique and will go sit on the patio when I need a new perspective.
Create the Conditions
What’s your milking a cow activity? How do you get your 30,000 feet of perspective? Once you know the conditions that encourage your best thinking, you can create them.
This week, practice taking a 10-30 minute break when you’re at a loss for an idea and do the following:
Here's to you,