Imagine you have dedicated some time to generate solutions to a problem. The typical structure of time dedicated to this is to spend time diverging before you spend time converging, i.e, generate 40-50 ideas first and then begin narrowing down to 3 you want to act upon.
This makes sense simply because you don’t want to focus too quickly on the first good idea that pops in. Take the time to explore before you narrow in. As a result, good divergent thinking is a requisite for convergent thinking.
It follows that, to be able to focus consistently in our daily lives, it is vital that we give our minds the license to explore, be distracted and be occasionally un-focused. In fact, if we aren’t experiencing many of these distractions or random idea explorations, the chances are that we aren’t fulfilling our full convergent thinking potential either.
But, how do we do so in our daily lives – especially considering we spend most of our days attempting to focus at work (or at school)?
This speaks to the importance of hobbies and doing things outside of your main sphere of work. They offer us the environment and time to diverge. This is precisely why many of our best ideas come to us while taking a shower or taking a walk.
We cannot force focus. All we can do is to create an environment conducive to focus and hope it happens. And, if we seek to create such an environment in our workplaces, it is necessary we create areas that feel different from the usual collection of work desks – areas that allow us to diverge. Hence, the need for game rooms and idea labs.
These aren’t just healthy or cool – they are necessary if we expect consistent convergent thought.