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August 18, 2019

The Golden Secret to Having Original Ideas

We have gotten used to the practice of medicine being conducted in a certain way. You do not feel well, so you go to the doctor, often for a visit of ten or fifteen minutes. The doctor is frequently looking at notes on his or her desk, more than at you. Some tests may be prescribed and maybe your medical practitioner/pharmaceutical salesman may consult with his catalog of expensive products to find a drug for you. Frequently, sadly, these drugs are some form of poison. In other words, they are not nourishment for the body like food, but mild poisons that are intended to kill or purge things from your body.

Things have not always been this way and they are still not this way in other cultures. We do not have to look that far back to a time when the practice of medicine was intricately woven with the practice of religion. Hospitals were run by monks and nuns, and healing from disease, although it might have included the application of herbs and other medicines, also involved prayer. The purging was not only of the poisons in the body, but also the feelings of hatred and craving from the psyche as well. Even today, in many cultures, the healer is a shaman: a high priest/priestess, as well as an expert in tinctures.

In writing a book together with Dr. Jan Bonhoeffer, founder of Heart Based Medicine, it has been earth-shattering – eye-opening – shocking to realize that we have come to accept that our primary healthcare provider is stressed out, not very present, and a knowledge database under the catalog of poisons. Writing a book like this requires, above all, the capacity to think in original and unprecedented ways. It is what we call “thinking outside the box.” In fact, every client I work with is doing some variation of this. Somebody is writing a book about the way that risk can be a path to liberation and personal development. Someone else is writing a book about how the insights in developing virtual reality can help us view all of life as a form of simulation. Each and every one of the people I work with has to develop the capacity to think outside the box, and it is not easy. All day, every day, you are being bombarded with stimuli to keep you firmly inside the box. Conversations with friends, social media, showing up for work, being in a relationship, raising children, going to school meetings, in one way or another, all of these environments provide opportunities for group thinking.

Particularly, this is true in healthcare. How many times have you been to the doctor’s office faced with an enormous bill with something that does not make any sense, in which you aim to question it only to hear the response, “I know, it is crazy with these insurance agencies, but that is just how it is.”

That is just how it is, is the mantra of in the box thinking. “Who says it has to be this way, let’s change it” is the mantra of out of the box thinking. When faced with so much impetus to think in conventional ways, how are we going to break the mold? The answer my friends is really quite simple.


That’s right, a big key to disruptive thinking has to do with when you wake up in the morning. If you are writing a book, working on a movie, developing a website, doing anything where you aim to be original, or you do anything to make an original contribution, try to do it early in the morning. What do I mean by early? I mean wake up at least 1 hour before the sun rises. That is a good time to sit and center yourself. Get your body flexible through dance or Qi-Gong, drink some water with lemon to wake up your liver and the other organs of digestion. Then, by the time the sun first pokes above the trees, be ready. Fifteen minutes of receptivity of that time of the day, as long as you are awake and prepared, will frequently generate a torrent of original creative and brilliant thoughts that only need to be captured on a voice recorder or writing fast with a pen. Once you have opened your email and said good morning to everybody, and enter back into “in the box situations,” it becomes difficult and almost impossible to generate this kind of innovation.

The core insights of the work we can do today in thinking outside the box can be almost entirely generated in short bursts around the time the sun is rising to make valuable change for systems around us.

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