According to Dr. Ellen Langer, out of an intuitive experience of the world comes a continuous Flow of novel distinctions. Purely rational understanding, on the other hand, serves to confirm old mindsets, rigid categories. Artists, who live in the same world as the rest of us, steer clear of these mindsets to make us see things anew. (source: Mindfulness by Dr. Ellen Langer)

Intuition is what you add to the information you collect once you see you can never collect total information. You have to add your feelings, your gut reaction, to make the right decision. In that sense, there is no answer that’s right for everybody. Schools unfortunately don’t teach us how to trust our intuition. Instead they teach a sort of absolute knowledge. They teach students to look for complete information, one right answer. But in real life you find that even after you gather all the relevant information, there is still a gap, a part that you cannot neatly complete. And that’s where you have to add your own intuition. With adding your own intuition comes risk.

The hidden variable is your degree of commitment. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. That produces zero growth, stagnation. The antidote is the realization that: You’ll always do what you’ve always done if you always think the way you’ve always thought.

No matter what the arena may be, the anxiety that builds in anticipation of risk-taking springs from exaggerated fantasies of failure and catastrophe.

Fear of risk-taking: If I bring up this new idea, you tell yourself, and it flops, then I’ll make a fool of myself.

Even worse, your mind tells you: In the coming wave of cuts and consolidations, my job will be the first to go. And because you’ll be fired, you’ll never be able to get another position. And you won’t be able to make the payments on your car, or your house, or anything. Before you know it, you envision yourself living like a bag lady on a sidewalk grate. So you shut up and say nothing. Better safe than sorry, you tell yourself, and curl up and hide in that comfort zone.

Our intuition draws directly on the vast storehouse of information which is an open book to the unconscious, but to some degree closed to consciousness. Incubation stage is at work at the exact moment you take a new approach to what you’re doing. When the results of your newly found motivation influences others, and when your child like spirit goes beyond the traditional ways, your creativity takes on a vital dimension. In the incubation stage you allow your life to be filled with joy of motivating moments, whatever you search for, or whatever information you gather, as long as you are child-like flexible and open to new possibilities with no time in mind and willing to push beyond the routine.

Look for Creativity, Joy, a natural “high.” in the incubation stage

When you feel you are getting motivated again, it brings joy and you feel that more than just one insight is awakened; you might desire a feeling to innovate, be creative, travel more, explore new possibilities, experiment with cooking, an urge to tinker, to explore new ways of doing things, strive to leave things a little better than before, and of course to bring newly found dreams to reality.

Here are the results of those who found abundant motivations:

  1. The imaginative expression of caring and compassion: “meals-on- wheels” that bring food to the homebound, birthing rooms, the AIDS Quilt, Gandhi’s strategy of protesting injustice with nonviolence
  2. Grand visions of hope and truth that show the way to others—the Bill of Rights and the Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech

Whether great or small, each of these examples points to people with healthy incubation stages.


Humor is the basis of motivation. When you’re goofing or joking around, you’re freer to consider any of the possibilities. Joy, laughter, and having just fun help to disarm the inner censor, voice of criticism that all too often condemns your ideas as ludicrous.

Brainstorming sessions are considered small motivational incubation stages. In brainstorming sessions the operative rule is that anything goes. No person is allowed to dismiss an idea as too simple or useless. In brainstorming sessions, no matter how wild, participants are free to create as many ideas as they can think of. Most of the times, one of those ideas will eventually grow into an innovative solution. Researchers have observed when people are working together on a problem, those who laugh most and most often are more motivated and productive than their more serious or decorous counterparts. Joking around makes good sense: playfulness is itself a motivating state.


Everything from credit cards and microchips to ice cream cones and jumbo jets was the outcome of incubation stage of someone very bright. The voice of critical judgment kills such inspirations. The epitome of this negative way of thinking is the statement by Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, who in 1899 said in a report to President McKinley, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Duell argued that the Patent Office should be abolished.

By rewarding your efforts to observe, ask, listen, and make small improvements in incubation stage you will feel good again and achieve a sense of optimism. Reward yourself, be kind to yourself, be honest, and have fun. The best response to your negative mind-set that might shoot down your new ideas and motivations is a daring vision with creative solutions.

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