1 / 3 / 2022
My daughter loves circles. Granted, they are all “balls” to her, but something about that round shape has captivated her little mind, and she needs to point out every ball she can find, whether in everyday life, illustrations, or screens. Sometimes, she points at something saying ball, and we can’t make heads or tails of it. It’s as though she’s seeing a circle that is invisible to us.
Thinking about those invisible circles reminded me of an experiment conducted about a decade ago. Participants were put in the Sahara and told to walk in a straight line. When the sun was blocked by cloud cover, these participants would walk in surprisingly small circles (as small as 20m in diameter). With the sun uncovered, participants were able to walk in a much straighter line. The authors conclude that these circles come from not having something to focus on to help show the direction forward.
Similar things happen within our minds. We shift from one stressor to the next in a very predictable pattern. These circular thoughts take up a majority of our mental capacity, and they seem inevitable, insurmountable, and inescable. This, of course, is the circle’s way of preserving itself like some kind of parasite numbing its host. To break the chain, kill the parasite, and free your head and enjoy clarity again, pull out a paper and pen, and write.
Yep, write the entire chain out. Writing brings clarity to your thoughts. It helps reveal how small the circle is, especially proportional to how much time you’ve been dwelling on it. Laying it out before your eyes helps you to see new avenues to break the chain you haven’t seen before.
Our working memory is much smaller than we believe it to be. Pulling out the thoughts from it to external memory allows you to examine each piece individually and holistically. It clear the metaphorical clouds so you can walk straight through to the oasis of clarity.
And, if at that oasis, you decide it’s time to build some incredible software, reach out to us to make it a reality.