- The Really Rich Journal
- The Power of Stepping Back
The Power of Stepping Back
Widen your perspective.
Hello again, Squad.
The Really Rich Journal
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The Weekly Tone
Have you ever found yourself tirelessly working on a problem, only to have the solution pop into your head during a walk, a weekend getaway, or even while taking a shower? It's a common experience, and there's a good reason for it.
Stepping away from our work is not just restorative, but also rich with information and insight.
It's easy to think of breaks, weekends, and trips out of town as mere downtime or opportunities for rest. While they certainly serve that purpose, they also play a critical role in enhancing our cognitive capabilities. These moments of respite give our minds the chance to wander, reflect, and approach problems from fresh angles.
The phenomenon of the "staircase effect"—a term coined to describe those sudden realizations that hit us as we're physically stepping away from a situation, such as walking down the stairs after a meeting—illustrates just how much our environment impacts our thinking. It's as if our brains need the signal of physical detachment to trigger a mental shift, allowing us to access a treasure trove of subconscious thoughts and alternative solutions.
During these breaks, our minds continue to process information in the background, often leading to moments of unexpected clarity. It's not uncommon to discover that we've been fixated on the wrong problem, or that a simpler solution exists. Sometimes, we might even realize that we've only been scratching the surface of a much deeper issue that requires our attention.
So why do we need to leave the office or take a step back from our work? It's not just about avoiding burnout or maintaining work-life balance—though these are important factors. It's about giving ourselves the opportunity to see the bigger picture. When we're too close to the task at hand, we can get tunnel vision, but distance allows us to expand our view and consider the broader context of our work.
You need the break.
This week, I encourage you to embrace the staircase effect. Take that coffee break, enjoy your weekend, or plan a day trip. Do it not just for the joy of the experience, but also for the potential breakthroughs that await when you return to your work with a refreshed mind and a new perspective.
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop trying to solve it—at least for a little while. The answers might just find their way to you when you least expect it.
Wishing you an insightful break and many "staircase" moments.
Rich: I’ll it grind to death.
Really Rich: Let’s take a break.