Start Your Mental Engine — Mechanically
An aspiring young writer who wasn’t experiencing success made this confession: “My trouble is, whole days and weeks pass that I can’t get a thing written.”
“You see,” he remarked, “writing is creative. You’ve got to be inspired. Your spirit must move you.
True, writing is creative, but here’s how another creative man, also a writer, explained his “secret” for producing quantities of successful material.
“I use a ‘mind force’ technique,” he began. “I’ve got deadlines to meet, and I can’t wait for my spirit to move. I’ve got to move my spirit. Here’s how my method works. I make myself sit down at my desk. Then I pick up a pencil and go through the mechanical motions of writing. I put down anything. I doodle. I get my fingers and arm in motion, and sooner or later, without being conscious of it, my mind gets on the right track.”
“Sometimes, of course, I get ideas out of the blue when I’m not trying to write,” he went on, “but these are just bonuses. Most of the good ideas come from just getting to work.”
Action must precede action. That’s a law of nature. Nothing starts itself, not even the dozens of mechanical gadgets we use daily.
Your home is heated automatically, but you must select (take action) the temperature you want. Your car shifts gear automatically only after you have set the right lever. The same principle applies to mind action. you get your mind in gear to make it produce for you.
A young branch sales manager for a door-to-door sales organization explained how he trained his sales to force the “mechanical way” to start each day earlier and more successfully.
“There’s a tremendous resistance to the door-to-door salesman, as anyone who has ever sold house to house knows,” he commented. “And it’s hard, even for the veteran salesman, to make that first call in the morning. He knows the odds are pretty good that he’ll get some pretty rough treatment before the day is over. So it’s natural for him to put off getting started in the morning. He’ll drink a couple of extra cups of coffee, maybe cruise around the neighborhood awhile or do a dozen little things to postpone that first call.
“I train each new man this way. I explain to him that the only way to start is to start. Don’t deliberate. Don’t postpone getting started. Do this: Just park your car. Get your sample case. Walk to the door. Ring the bell. Smile. Say ‘Good morning,’ and make your presentation, all mechanically, without a lot of conscious thought. Start making calls this way and you break the ice. By the second or third call, your mind is sharp, and your presentations become effective.”
A humorist once said the most difficult problem in life was getting out of a warm bed into a cold room. And he had a point.
The longer you lie there and think how unpleasant it will be to get up, the more difficult it becomes. Even in such a simple operation as this, mechanical action, just throwing off the cover and putting your feet on the floor, defeats dread.
The point is clear. People who get things done in this world don’t wait for the spirit to move them; they move the spirit.
Try these two exercises:
1- Use the mechanical way to accomplish simple but sometimes unpleasant business and household chores. Rather than think about the unpleasant features of the task, jump right in and get going without a lot of deliberation.
Perhaps the most unpleasant household task to most women is washing dishes. My mother is no exception. But she mastered a technical approach to dispensing with this task quickly, so she can return to things she likes to do.
As she leaves the table, she always mechanically picks up several dishes and, without thinking about the task ahead, just gets started. In just a few minutes she is through. Doesn’t this beat stacking dishes and dreading the unpleasant inevitable?
Do this today: Pick the one thing you like to do least. Then, without letting yourself deliberate on or dread the task, do it.
That’s the most efficient way to handle chores.
2- Next, use the mechanical way to create ideas, map out plans, solve problems, and do other work that requires top mental performance. Rather than wait for the spirit to move you, sit down and move your spirit.
Here’s a special technique guaranteed to help you: Use a pencil and paper. A simple pencil is the greatest concentration tool money can buy. If I had to choose between an ultra-fancy, deeply carpeted, beautifully decorated, soundproof office and a pencil and paper, I’d choose the pencil and paper every time. With a pencil and paper, you can tie your mind to a problem.
When you write a thought on paper, your full attention is automatically focused on that thought. That’s because the mind is not designed to think one thought and write another at the same time. And when you write on paper, you “write” on your mind, too. Tests prove conclusively that you remember something much longer and much more exactly if you write the thought on paper.
And once you master the pencil-and-paper technique for concentration, you can think in noisy or other distracting situations. When you want to think, start writing or doodling, or diagramming. It’s an excellent way to move your spirit.