Morning Pages are a tool for producing new insights, innovation, clarity, and calm

In a world where so much is changing so fast, we need new ways of making sense of what is happening.

Our conscious, rational minds will tend to seek out data, numbers, and facts. But as we learned at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, those numbers might not be available, they might not be accurate, and they might not mean what we think they mean.

Our rational minds will also try to make sense of change of things according to the way the world used to work. But in a changing world those assumptions may no longer hold true. We assumed, for example, that catching Covid-19 once would provide immunity in future. Reality turned out to be more complex.

The bottom line is: in a changing world our rational minds might not have all the answers.

The good news is that this is not the only reliable method we have of understanding the world. When top sportspeople respond in a split second to put the ball exactly where they want it to go they don’t think about it consciously. They use their instinctive, unconscious minds.

In the same way, our unconscious minds are already spotting the new patterns that are currently emerging all around us. The only problem is, we’re not conscious of them yet.

If we want to lead ourselves and other people better through this time of change it is useful to find new ways of connecting with the power of our unconscious intuition — just like top sportspeople do.

Exercise, creativity, meditation, and spending time in nature will all build a deeper connection with our unconscious minds but this can take weeks.

A more immediate way is to use a technique called Morning Pages.

The approach is very simple:

  • Sit down with pen and paper first thing in the morning, before your conscious mind is fully awake
  • Then write out longhand whatever comes into your mind, until you have filled three sides of paper
  • Make a note of anything significant and then get on with your day
  • Repeat as needed

The benefits come in three stages:

  1. First, you get any nagging worries out of your head and down on to the paper. That makes you calmer and brings a clearer mind, which allows you to get on with your day undistracted.
  2. Second, writing without thinking often surfaces unexpected insights: things you had forgotten or not realised you knew. In this way, your unconscious mind can often be wiser than your conscious mind.
  3. And third, as well as finding better understanding of what is happening, Morning Pages will also often bring solutions.

As journalist Oliver Burkeman says, at first he was sceptical but now he wishes he’d started years ago.

So if your conscious mind is struggling to find the answer to a problem, try using Morning Pages to call on the power of your unconscious intuition.

Are you stuck on an issue you can’t resolve? Have you tried using your intuition?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)

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