Ok, so I feel like I need to preface this with the fact that I’m talking classic 1985 mullet MacGyver, not the millennial reboot!
MacGyver is famous for his unconventional problem solving and an extensive bank of scientific knowledge — which he uses to solve the impossible.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to give you with this extraordinarily simple but effective problem-solving method.
It combines an unconventional practice with cutting-edge neuroscience.
Why do we need to think like MacGyver?
Sometimes when we can’t find the solution to a problem we’ve been trying to solve, there’s a tendency to try “thinking harder” and throwing more conscious mental energy at the problem.
The problem with this approach is that our conscious brain has very limited processing power — it can only handle 7 + or – 2 bits of information at once, which is why phone numbers are 7 digits long.
And in terms of information handling, there’s limitations there too. With a capacity to handle about 1,200 bytes of data simultaneously, listening to 2 conversations at once is enough to overload the system.
This is all to say, that relying on our conscious brain to solve audacious problems is like asking a 4-year old to calculate the impact force of a decaying star.
And this is where MacGyver comes in.
Much like the over-sized brain of the human Swiss Army knife, we’re going to send our problems to the extensive data bank of the subconscious — where our real processing power sits.
Instead of trying to squeeze a solution out of the limited conscious brain, if we can push the challenge to the subconscious we gain access to not only more processing power but lateral connections, rich data, experiential layering and deep pattern recognition.
That said, here’s how to MacGyver the shit out of your next unconventional problem:
- Write down your challenge/problem on a sheet of paper. Yes, paper! And yes, handwriting! It’s important to activate the sensorial systems that are engaged in the tactile experience of turning thoughts into written word — there’s some primitive brain shit going on here that’s beyond the scope of this post. Let’s just agree that you wanna write this down and activate this system.
- Phrase your problem as a question. For instance: “How does Maslow’s hierarchy of needs map to 16th Century French colonialism?” Or “Are Facebook ads or organic outreach going to generate Higher CTR and Conversions for my client’s Black Friday campaign?”. Clear and comprehensive is best.
- Walk away. Literally.
- Go for a walk, take a nap, do a workout, get out in nature. Basically, escape the challenge, switch off, change your environment, forget the problem. You can also do this before bed, and literally “sleep on it”.
- The stickier the conundrum, the more time is probably going to be required. (*I say probably because Time really isn’t a factor here, the subconscious is so powerful that given the space to compute and a clear goal to process, results can come thick and fast. BUT big problems may require more processing).
- After you’ve completed your release activity – walk, nap etc – come back to a clean sheet of paper and start writing. Like, just start writing anything. You might begin with, “wow that walk was nice, the sun was hot, my shoes felt weird…” but eventually you will drop into a deeper state of concentration and the words will turn to answers to your problem.
- Is this gonna work 100% every time? Probably not, but you’ll get somewhere. The act of deliberately engaging the subconscious in question and answer will create a flow of responses aimed towards your questions. Even if you don’t solve it the first time around, you’ll get some clarity and unlock keys to the solution.
- Rinse and repeat to get deeper clarity or new perspectives.
You can keep asking the same questions — or iterations — to improve the answers for a single challenge, or ask new questions each time.
Either way, this works like a muscle, the more you do it, the more adept the systems becomes at providing accurate solutions.
More MacGyver Than MacGyver
There you go, a simple way to get new perspectives and rich insights on your squirmiest questions.
It’s all-natural, vegan and requires nothing other than your brain, some relaxation and a pen and paper.
What could be easier.
So, the next time you’re facing one of life’s grand conundrums, write it down and go chill the f*ck out.
Let your big-ass brain figure it out for you.
Become the MacGyver of your own life. *Mullet sold separately*
And remember this bit of wisdom from the great man himself:
“With a little bit of imagination, anything is possible.”MacGyver