It’s been almost 2 weeks since the start of the year. If you’re like most people, you kicked-off the year by setting some goals or making some resolutions. I’ll bet that at the top of many lists is a resolution related to fitness or health. It is a common New Year’s goal, but also one that is often quickly abandoned, usually for lack of time.
The other day, I was struggling with a complex technical issue. I had turned the problem upside-down and inside-out but just couldn’t seem to find a good solution. Before wasting any more time and getting frustrated, I parked the issue in the back of my mind, laced on my running shoes and went for a great run through the beautiful winter scenery.
Now and then I lightly brought the issue back to mind and as my run progressed I was gradually getting clarity on it. While my brain was filling with powerful endorphins, I was unconsciously solving the problem! By the time I arrived home, I had two novel ideas to tackle the problem. I realized that this happens to me a lot. Most of the time while exercising I solve problems and innovate without even noticing it!
We often try to solve business or technical challenges by staring intensely at a computer screen or holding endless meetings. Doing these things feels like we are “working on it”. In fact, it might be more productive (and innovative) to bring the issue along with us while exercising to let the power of the endorphins help reveal a solution. As long as we have all the knowledge required, all that’s needed is a different perspective that links up that knowledge in a creative way.
There is a wealth of research that shows how endorphins improve creativity and assist in making better decisions. The good news is that you can get a shot even without doing heavy exercise like running. Yoga, stair climbing or power walking can also do the trick!
It’s not always practical to jump up and leave the office to go exercising every time you have a tough problem to solve. But when you’re stumped, try to leave earlier than usual and give yourself a dose of athletics-induced endorphins. Or, try getting up earlier and exercising before a big day of meetings. It will help you stay focused and contribute to maximum performance.
So fuel up by exercising and you’ll find innovative solutions that will help your business and improve your health at the same time! Sounds like the kind of great idea I have when I’m running…..