Why Your Mental Clutter Is Draining Your Creative Genius

The Latin phrase ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ which means ‘a sound mind in a sound body’ is a well known phrase but I would like to take the liberty of stretching this a bit. An uncluttered mind in a sound body is my version. I know this doesn’t sound as elegant but mental clutter can rob you of energy and send you from pillar to post without really achieving anything. Interestingly most people understand that physical clutter is a stressor as this research on office workers shows but I am not sure they understand about the mental habits that lead to clutter. There is such a thing as ‘decisional procrastination’ which in itself leads to physical clutter because people cannot be bothered to make a decision, but physical clutter aside, it also takes a mental toll.

 

Here, I am only going to focus on three common culprits that we allow to clutter our minds:

 

  • Overwhelm
  • Forgiveness
  • Procrastination

 

Overwhelm

 

A lot of us spend our time spinning our wheels and being very busy without being effective and finishing off any one particular thing. Overwhelm is having too many open loops. It’s like your brain is not getting closure. Imagine a cluttered desk, with all these tasks half finished with papers everywhere. Having several tabs opened on your browser and never really accomplishing what you opened that browser for in the first place. This drains you while also robbing you of any feeling of accomplishment. All those unfinished businesses are effectively cluttering your mind, eating up your mental bandwidth. No wonder you are exhausted. Your genius needs room to breathe and formulate new ideas but with your mental bandwidth clogged with your open loops, you may sometimes feel like you can’t even spell the genius.

 

Forgiveness

 

This is more of an emotional one but believe it or not drains your creativity. For you to hold onto a grudge, you need to remember the incident, the villain who wronged you, how it made you feel, how you are going to exact your revenge so that next time you bump into said villain, you can rake it all up again. You see where I am going with this? It takes a lot of resources to hang onto a grudge. Why don’t you let it go already? It is an efficient use of your resources and keeps your genius hidden. All spiritual traditions recommend forgiveness and there is wisdom in there. Listen to those wise old sages.

 

Procrastination

 

I am fine one to talk about this one and I am not talking about any fancy ‘decisional procrastination’ here, just plain old ‘I will do it tomorrow’ type of procrastination. As I am writing this my accountant is chasing me for the paperwork for my taxes. I was very good last year, I gave him everything on time and felt such a release but here I am again being chased. I have been thinking about assembling the paper work for months but every time I procrastinate and when I do that, it doesn’t entirely go away. There is a bit of my brain that keeps thinking about it and reminding me every now and then that the deadline is coming up. Now it has got to the point where I am being chased so there is stress to throw into the mix. How on earth can one lean into one’s genius when one is preoccupied with the tax return? This is energy tied up for no reason. It clutters my mind and stops me from thinking clearly. 

 

Too many open loops, not forgiving and procrastination are all background processes that drain you unconsciously. You can be more efficient than that and claim your power back. There is no point in indulging in these inefficiencies, well, not if you want to unleash the genius within us. Not promising you will be the next Einstein or anything but you never know.

 

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