One of the core beliefs I hold about sales is that most sales people represent tremendous value to our clients. I have, as I am pretty sure you do, many stories of clients thanking me for helping them overcome serious obstacles to their success. Most of my clients are smart people though. Many of them smarter than me. So why is it that they were not able to solve these issues themselves?. Why was I able to bring value?

Those are powerful questions, because the answers also apply to the obstacles in the way of my success.

Recent studies by Neuroscientists and Cognitive Psychologists have revealed some interesting findings. When a human brain is ‘bored”, it enters what the scientists call “default mode”. In default mode, the brain makes connections between the subconscious and the conscious and tackles the really tough problems. It is in those moments of boredom that creativity is at the highest level in the human brain, and it turns out creativity is a key element to success. In fact, IBM did a survey of CEOs a while back and found that creativity was the highest ranked competency for leadership success. The big bosses want the most creative leaders running their teams.
Science tells us that a creative thinking comes down to being is bored more often, and hence having access to a more creative mind to solve those problems. Most people just aren’t bored enough anymore. Technology has actually made it harder for people to get bored, and hence creative at solving problems.

Think about it. Go back 12 years, before the Iphone was invented. How often in an average week did you find your mind wandering? While you waited in a doctor’s office or at the DMV? While you pumped gas into your car? While you sat at a coffee shop waiting for someone who’s running late? Today, we pick up our phones in those situations. We fill all those dead time slots with check ins, status updates, games, videos, etc.
Even worse, we also do this during actual work time. We tell ourselves we “multi-task” at our desks. Except that any neuro-scientist will tell you there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Our brains are just quickly switching from one task to the next when we think we are multi-tasking.
– 10 years ago, the average worker shifted their attention to another task every 3 minutes. Today, it’s every 45 seconds.
– The average person checks email 74 times a day- Most people switches tasks on their computer over 550 times a day.

Neuroscientist Dr Daniel Levitin explains that every time we switch tasks, we use a neurochemical switch in our brain to do that. That switch consumes nutrients (specifically glucose). We stress and tire out our brains with hectic activity, and we’ve eliminated all the mental breaks we used to have by filling them with checking our phones. This is why depression and so many other mental issues are tied to excessive use electronics. It’s literally a case of brain fatigue.

Now go back to the scenario of clients. I mostly call on CEO’s and Sales VPs. Can you imagine the sheer amount of emails, tasks, phone calls and other stimuli their brains are subject to in their day to day work environment? No wonder they struggle to be creative and find the solutions to their most  basic sales challenges.
Your prospects are likely no different. Everyone is overstimulated and super busy nowadays. Part of the value you bring is a fresh set of eyes on the problem.

That said, you need to be disciplined about this as well. Time management means allowing those down times to happen in your day. Experts recommend the following to make sure you are managing your brain, instead of letting your phone do it for you.
– Eliminate as many phone alerts as possible. Especially the ones that prompt your lock screen.- Designate a few specific times to check email per day. Turn off those pop up notifications of new emails.
– Set “electronic free” time blocks in your day.- Avoid staring at phone or ipad screens 60 mins before going to bed.- Regulate yourself away from just checking your phone constantly.

Allow yourself to be bored on occasion. It gives you a creative brain advantage.