Business Perspectives

Ray Hull: We all need our own special place to focus, problem-solve

Our offices can become busy and hectic. Distractions can take away our creativity and our ability to concentrate on matters that need to be taken care of.

At times it can be challenging to make the rational decisions that need to be made, to concentrate on tasks at hand, to maintain our composure that should be an important part of our professional demeanor.

We all need our own special quiet place — a place where we can shift our inner being for even a few moments to focus, to regenerate, to cleanse our mind and even our soul.

I grew up on one of our farms in the center of Kansas. I had my own special place where I could think, meditate, problem-solve and sing songs that I made up where no one heard me. I would walk about three-quarters of a mile diagonally across one of our fields to a place where a house and outbuildings of a farm once stood.

All that remained were three trees and a mound that covered what used to be the family’s cellar. The stairway was still there, but was mostly filled with dirt and I never took the time to work my way down into there. I don’t care for spiders. My special place was under those three trees, where I would sit quietly in the shade with my dog Laddie.

I was away from everything and everybody out there in that field under those trees. No one could see me. The only sound came from the wind and the rustling of the leaves in those three old elm trees. The leaves produced a wonderful lonely sound. That was my sanctuary, away from the distractions of a busy world.

We all need a place like that. It may not be in the middle of a wheat field. It can be a corner of your office where you have a picture that is calming, one you can look at and dream a little, clear your mind and regenerate.

I have three framed pictures like that in my office — mountains and a lake that looks very much like the place my good friend Bob and I would go fishing for trout when I lived in Colorado. They are calming to me. When I must do some problem-solving, I close the door to my office and gaze at those mountains to cleanse my mind for a few moments, and then I find that solutions come easier.

Sometimes just those few moments of silence and reflection can do wonders.

Ray H. Hull is a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Wichita State University. His new book with Jim Stovall, "The Art of Learning and Self-Development: Your Competitive Edge," recently was released.

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