When people come to me to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, they typically arrive with one of two mindsets. Either they have lots of ideas, and don’t know how to figure out which one they should pursue; or they don’t have any ideas at all, and want to get some.
One method that can help you, regardless of what category you are in, is to create a “Right-Brain File.”
A Right-Brain File is a way to collect data that you aren’t ready to process. It’s a way to let your subconscious do the work for you. A Right-Brain File is based on the premise that applying your analytical skills, alone, won’t get you the life you want. As I wrote in my recent book, The Creative Lawyer, when it comes to creating a great life, thinking is overrated. That’s where the Right-Brain File comes in. It’s a way of thinking without, well, thinking.
What you put into your Right-Brain File is anything that tickles your fancy. It could be an article, a photo, a travel brochure, an email, an overheard snatch of dialogue. My Right-Brain File consists mainly of articles, but that’s just me. What you put into your Right-Brain File might excite you, it might intrigue you, it might make you boil with envy, it might make you just say, “huh.” There’s something there, you’re just not sure what. And the key is: don’t think about it. Just put it in the file.
Later, once your file has grown, take a look at what you’ve collected. What do you see? Any patterns, inspirations, insights? What you have is a record of what your right brain—the intuitive, associative, non-logical part of you—has noticed. It’s been noticing things, even if you haven’t been able to put words around it. Indeed, sometimes avoiding putting words around your impulses is one of the best ways to let them develop.
Create a Right-Brain File, and see what your mind comes up with when it’s not thinking. Here’s what I put into my Right-Brain File yesterday morning.
What’s in yours?