This Is How to Declutter Your Brain so You Can Achieve Higher-Level Thinking

Tim Denning

And produce results you didn’t think you were capable of.

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Your brain is like your home. If there’s garbage everywhere, you will feel stressed and function at a drastically lower level.

Higher-level thinking looks like this:

  • Your brain comes up with ideas. A few of them are good.
  • You can access effortless levels of creativity — helpful if you’re a writer, an entrepreneur, musician, comedian, or actor.
  • You don’t walk around with huge levels of brain fog that clouds your sense of judgment.

When your brain is cluttered, you blow up at every tiny thing. You need a clear mind to achieve extraordinary results.

First, let’s toss out the mess from your brain:

1. What you can’t control

There’s a lot in your life you can’t control. The fastest way to clutter your brain with B.S. is to think a lot about what you can’t control. A question to change your life:

“What are you going to do about it?”

This question acts as a pattern interrupt. You break up the story of that which you can’t control when you force yourself to take personal responsibility. What you can’t control directs you when you let it.

2. Junk food for your brain

Anger and frustration are junk food for your brain. They don’t get you anywhere. Turn anger and frustration into action. Don’t worry about revenge — focus on results. Results make anger look stupid, rather than you.

3. People-centric thinking

Thinking about people is low-level thinking. Your brain is smarter when you focus on ideas. Humans are a messed up species and critiquing them is hilarious when you think deeply about it.

You really want people to act the right way, be kind, respect your views, be generous towards you, believe the same as you, get on with everybody? Seriously, this is an immature view of the world. Don’t worry about judging people. This is brain clutter.

Change yourself to change the world.

4. Money driven obsessions

Money is an obsession. When you think money will solve all your problems you mess up your potential. Money solves nothing. America has lots of money. Do they have many problems these days?

The time you spend thinking about money can be better utilized.

5. Your grandmother’s inheritance

Yep, throw the old girl’s stuff away (joking). The junk you hoard takes up space in your physical world.

Try to think clearly while you’re standing in the middle of a rubbish dump that smells like a public toilet after a hundred beer guts have taken a half-time moment of liquid relief. You can’t. It’s hard to put your finger on it.

Inspirational thoughts that drive you towards action aren’t going to happen amongst a pile of junk. Your brain is too busy focusing on where all your physical possessions belong. Other people’s stuff is the hardest to throwaway.

There’s a broken sense of connection, or you feel like you owe it to them to hold onto it all. Meanwhile, upstairs in your brain, your thinking becomes cluttered the same way your physical world is.

Putting stuff away declutters your mind.

Now the clutter is gone from your mind, let’s level-up your thinking.

Etch a new path into your brain

Familiarity makes your thought patterns repetitive and boring.

That’s why when people travel overseas for a holiday they often report having game-changing insights. It’s not the holiday that’s sprinkling magic on their thinking. It’s the unknown experiences and surroundings.

There comes a point where your thinking reaches a dead-end. All you come up with are mostly useless thoughts that lead you towards a human tragedy: blaming and complaining.

The answer is, to get around what is foreign to you. If you always watch Hollywood movies, watch a Japanese cartoon. If you always eat pizza or hamburgers, visit a Buddhist temple and try raw food or a vegetarian curry. If you always drive the same way to work, take the longer route. If you spend your time playing golf, try ping pong. If you read non-fiction books, then read fiction books.

It isn’t hard to consciously make decisions towards that which is unfamiliar to you. When you do, you interrupt your thinking and generate new thinking. New thinking can then be applied to the ideas and problems you want to influence or change.

Your thinking goes from boredom to insightful when you purposely practice the opposite of what you normally do.

Teleport out the back cover of a book

Reading shapes your thoughts. Teleport your mind into a novel and let it exit through the back cover of the book. When I get stuck in a funk, I read. The chatter in my brain is difficult to silence.

Books shut down your brain so you can think again.

Walk your brain to new thinking

My best thoughts come from walking. The other day I was ready to throw a blender at my work colleague. She forgot to do an important thing. It wasted a lot of our time trying to rectify it. As a result, I paid the ultimate price: I lost my Thursday writing day so the issue could be rectified. Not getting the chance to write can cause me to blow up.

My girlfriend suggested we go for a walk out in the sunshine. I didn’t want sunshine. I resisted. I protested. Then, I gave in. Halfway into the walk I felt different. I was focused on putting one foot in front of the other. My heart rate increased. Blood was pumping. The sun on my skin felt incredible. We walked through leafy green streets and I actually noticed the leaves. I met a puppy and spoke dog language.

By the time we got home I had walked off my problem.

Higher-level thinking follows a walk.

Shower your brain in warm water

Your brain relaxes when you shower. I do my best thinking in the shower. The stories I have written over the last six years that have accidentally gone viral, all came to me in the shower. Warm water engulfing your body, switches on your higher-level thinking. Why? It’s not scientific. It’s simple: you’re relaxed.

When you are genuinely relaxed you do your best thinking. That’s why it pays to find activities that relax you. Mine is a shower. Think about yours. Practice relaxation when your thinking needs a break due to frustration.

Procrastination is luxurious

You’re not lazy when you procrastinate. Procrastination is your trigger to start work when your mind is ready.

I procrastinate my way to writing. Some days it takes me two hours of procrastinating before I write a single word. Procrastination is made out to be the enemy. Actually, procrastination leads to higher-level thinking.

Procrastination is really preparation.

Ways for you to procrastinate like a pro:

  • Watch your favorite music videos on youtube.
  • Read blog posts by your favorite writers.
  • Clean your home office and use it as an excuse to tidy your space before you work.
  • Have a random phone conversation with a friend and pretend it couldn’t wait.
  • Get lost on Twitter. Go to your favorite account. Look for the retweets. Click those profiles. Read a few more tweets. And keep clicking your way to more and more twitter profiles recommended by people you respect. This is idea discovery at its finest.
Fall in love with procrastination. It’s part of doing your work.

Dump your brain on a blog

Quality thinking comes from taking the thoughts out of your head and placing them on a blog. Nobody has to read the blog, but the process of writing your thoughts down is powerful. Notice how I didn’t say journal?

Blogs are written online. They auto-save. They’re shareable. They’re searchable. They’re available for reflection later. They won’t burn down in a house fire. They don’t clutter your home with sticky notes or paper. A blog can live beyond your death.

Dump your brain on a blog a few times a week. Watch the level of clarity you get about where your life is heading. You’re less likely to lie to yourself when you write on a blog. A blog is you speaking truth back at yourself. A blog is an introspective experience that reveals errors, gaps, improvements, and faulty lines of code in your thinking.

I used to think I was an unstoppable Peter Pan and was going to live forever. A blog showed me my flaws. A blog can do the same for you.

You can clean up your mind and take out the trash. Your mind is your greatest tool to make your goals come true. Your mind is also a weapon of mass destruction against yourself. That’s why doing a brain dump and leveling up your thinking is so powerful.

When your mind fails, you fall short of the life you want.

When your mind works, you work.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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