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Close Your Eyes And See Bigger Picture


Why you close your eyes when you want to concentrate and focus? You don’t?

I do. This technique falls into Resources Management bucket of the Personal Performance Engineering Practices


by ButterflySha

My take is that when you close your eyes your release very important resource – your imagination. That way external visual world distracts you less and helps unleashing the full power of your imagination.

I use this technique when I am trying to get a grip on complex problem. Even when with the customer I ask for the permission to close my eyes and listen that way. I listen and visualize what I hear. Weird a bit but works great for me and for the customer too. I spend less customers’ time saving them form asking redundant questions.

Lately I attended  a talk where the presenter mentioned Rambam, one of the greatest doctors and philosophers of Middle Ages. The presenter said that people called Rambam “sleeping doctor” as he was listening to his patients with his eyes shut. It helped him to concentrate.

Mendeleev invented his periodic table of elements after he saw it while he was sleeping.

I found interesting rundown on The Ultimate Mystery: What Do Our Brains Do While Sleeping? that discusses what goes on in our brain when our eye shut:

“We think what’s happening during sleep is that you open the aperture of memory and are able to see this bigger picture,”

Note that there are situations that you better keep your eye wide open, like the case of driving :).

Want to focus and solve a complex problem? Close your eyes, ignite your imagination, focus and see a bigger picture, see the solution.

What is your practice? Please, share.

13 March 2008


  • blogrdoc said:

    I do a very similar thing by taking off my glasses. I get very easily distracted, but with my glasses off, I basically can’t see faces or other distractions.

    I love the story of Mendeleev and the periodic table, by the way.

  • alik levin said:

    blogrdoc, for some reason I knew you gonna love Mendeleev story :).

  • Mike King said:

    Alik, I think the method people use depends on their communication or natural modality. Some people will be visual (close their eyes to picture things), some audible (need quiet or music to inspire) and some are kinesthetic (need to attempt or practice) by doing something.

    I am more audible so it doesn’t help me to close my eyes. I can tune out any sound though when I concentrate hard (If I focus hard I can blank out my vision, or areas of it to black even with my eyes open).

    So, instead of closing my eyes, I listen to music about 12hrs a day, tune out others to focus. I also find solving problems best simply by talking through them or listening to someone about them.

  • alik levin said:

    Mike, great additions!
    May I combine it all as follows?
    - Remove visual distractions by closing your eyes (visual)
    - Remove audio distractions by listening music (audible)
    - Ignite your imagination and see a bigger picture, find the solution in your mind
    - test it in practice (kinesthetic)

    I think it is not OR or AND rather mix and match. The key is freeing your resources (mind, imagination) to allocate it to important tasks. For example you and I cannot close our eyes when writing another program but we can listen to the music that shields us from external distractions, right?

  • Mike King said:

    Good point alik, it is definitely a combination of things that work for any individual. I guess it also depends on what you’re working to accomplish, like you said, some things are simply needing your attention in a specific way.

  • bORiS said:

    Follow Rambam and get far (into the DOS:))
    I personally adopted the following technique: if the things are going hard, I just going to sleep, not dreaming (or, not remember what I dreamed about) but the next morning have a hint or even solution. I’ll rty your practice, but afraid people will joke, you know…

  • alik levin said:

    Let them laugh. He who laughs last, laughs best – I bet you already know that. If it gets you results no one will laugh at this. Results are louder than words.

    BTW, I never make serious decision at night – I sleep over it, just like you. This technique never let me down.

    Thanks for sharing your practice.

  • State of Mind | Learn This | Learn This said:

    [...] possible. Close your eyes if it helps to really visualize it in your mind. There is an interesting article on Practice This about closing your eyes to see more which is about [...]

  • 3 Easy Steps To Become A Superhero — Practice This said:

    [...] blog readers as a customer. Think of your kids as a customers. What do I really want it to be like? Close Your Eyes And See Bigger Picture, visualize it, create your vision. Put the customer in the center. Can you see it? No? Try again. [...]

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