Monday, June 12, 2017

Mindfulness: USE negative space, DON'T fill it!

Are you filling your negative space?  STOP!

Negative space is the concept of using a lack of "content" to create a feeling, an action or to communicate the importance of the most important element in a creative design.

Some of the best advertisements use negative space and we tend to be attracted to the simplistic idea of using only a logo or a simple statement surrounded by nothing else.  We tend to think of these advertisements as "clean", "upscale", "classy" or "intelligent".


In fact the proper use of negative space in advertising can be very elegant. BUT, we don't tend to place the same importance on negative space in our every day lives!  In fact, we often look at holes in our day as some type of emptiness or poor planning on our part.  Maybe we even think we are being lazy by not filling that void?

When you encounter negative space in your day, USE it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness!

Take inventory of what is important to you.  Think of ways to use this time as a way to learn something about yourself instead of as a way to "get things done".

Instead of mindlessly looking for a way to fill that space, seek to recognize yourself in that moment.  This is where taking stock of your experience can be a HUGE wakeup call.  Notice your breath in this moment, notice your heartbeat, observe the world around you.  How does this moment feel different than when you are rushing around "getting things done"?  Do YOU act different?  Are your behaviors, habits or routines different?  However different they are, realize that your "default" is here and now.  Notice how this default varies from your reactionary state in a moment of stress or anxiety.  That lack of centeredness can lead us to make poor judgement calls or distract us from doing our best work.  Take a mental picture of this moment.  

What if DO have things to get done even though I have negative space?

Finding negative space in life can be a GREAT way to identify habits or routines that have been holding you back from your best!  As tempting as it may seem, I urge you NOT to attempt filling the new found void with a new activity, new goal or new project.  

Instead practice the art of SLOWING DOWN!

Take your highest priority item on your to-do list and give yourself extra time to work on it.  When you do, try to break up your work into segments that you can focus on closely.  Then take each segment and analyze the importance of it's inclusion in accomplishing your to-do item.  Are you focused on the wrong part of the job?  Is the time spent on each segment enough?  Too much?  Are the separate pieces of the greater whole even necessary?  Can you take steps out to remove frustration, gain time and create a faster or better result?  

If your "to-do" is a part of a routine, maybe it's time to rethink your routine?  Are you usually rushing through this activity so quickly that you don't think about what you're doing at all?  NOW is the time, you have negative space to concentrate on this activity and seek out where you may be inefficient or redundant in your action.

We have become so conditioned to fill our time with activity that sometimes we fail to respect our "time earned".  If we can't appreciate the moments in life that give us space to reflect internally, we cheat ourselves of the opportunity to become our best.

Stay Motiv8ed!

Coach Joe

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