How to overcome mental roadblocks
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed
Stress and strain are the sources of mental blocks. Emotion is a by-product of the mind. It is most essential to be stress free. There are ways to remove or avoid mental hazards. By mental hazards and pressure, mental blocks are created. The cause of emotional block is pressure. Almost any college student can tell us how well-studied facts have vanished from his mind under the pressure of taking a final exam. We often think that people produce best under strong stimulus or competition.
That may be true in running a foot race, but when we are seeking new ideas or tying to solve a knotty problem, increased pressure is more likely to cause a mental block.
When we face a serious problem and have been strenuously working at it without getting anywhere, “sticking to it” may be a mistake. Under pressure our brain has probably developed something similar to a “feedback effect. So by leaving the problem one can for a while go fishing, paint the house, visit a friend. By giving your mind a time to clear its circuits and let the flow of ideas, one can begin again. When we come back to our problem we may find a completely new approach. Psychologists find lies in pre-conception, a pre-arrangement, so to speak, of our brain circuits that limits our thinking. If we have ever misplaced an important paper on a cluttered desk, we know the effects of this. We shuffle through everything again and again, but we just can’t find what we are looking for. Then someone else comes over and spots it at once. The paper turns out to be a little different color or size than we remembered, and that preconception kept us from recognizing it. Education, ironically, can be another source of mental block, especially if students are taught to approach every problem in a rigid textbook fashion. This is true not only of formal schooling but of our learning of everyday things as well. A Swarthmore professor once asked his psychology students to retrieve a ping-pong ball from the bottom of an upright rusty pipe. In the room were a hammer, pliers, rulers, soda straws, pins and a bucket of dirty wash water.
The students began by fishing around in vain with the various objects, but finally about half of them saw that the solution lay in pouring the dirty water into the cylinder and floating the ball up.
Afterwards, the professor repeated the experiment with other students, but with one difference-he replaced the bucket of dirty water with a pitcher of ice water, set on a crisp tablecloth and surrounded by gleaming goblets. Not one student solved the problem. Why? Because each one “knew” that fresh ice water in a pitcher is for drinking, not for pouring into a rusty pipe to solve a problem.
Many problems are less difficult than they seem and deserve less attention than they get. In these cases especially it is wise to begin at once. It’s like deciding whether or not to jump into cold water. Once we jump, the problem doesn’t exist. There are many roadblocks to creativity. We must be aware of the roadblocks and their remedial measures. To avoid those, we must be attentive to some prescribed tips and thereby to follow such tips. It is necessary to make hasty judgments of ideas. Every mind generates ideas all day long, because life by definition is a series of problems and solutions. Some ideas are merely operational: whether to have an egg for breakfast or go to Rome on our vacation. Others have potential for growth and control: maybe we want a college degree; or a new job; or to study law, the piano, golf.
Again we must give our mind anything to chew on. Nobody stops eating at age 20, but starved imaginations are common-place. If you never read a book, ask questions or travel, no wonder our intellect is under nourished. One of the simplest remedies for this-and it’s free-is to take a book out of the library that we are fairly sure we either won’t like or won’t understand, and read it all the way through.
Thus, mental roadblocks are not at all a problem to any professional to attain creativity. It is our firmness of mind by virtue of which we can achieve and reach the desired goal or destination. Where there is a will, there is a way.