All clear for the New Year

By Jamie Smart

Author: CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results.

Everyone’s had the experience of struggling to drag themselves out of bed and off to work on a cold January morning. But you can also probably remember some of the times when you woke up feeling fresh, then bounced into work and couldn’t put a foot wrong. People usually attribute this second kind of day to a change in circumstances, to a good night’s sleep, or to luck. But it turns out that there are simple principles which govern the kind of day you’re going to have, how productive you’ll be, and what kind of results you’re going to get. In this article, you’re going to be discovering the principles behind mental clarity; the unexpected source of your most productive and enjoyable year so far! 

Clarity Key #1: Better ideas, solutions and decisions

A survey of senior executives asking, “When do you get your best ideas?” yielded surprising results. The top 3 answers were: 1) on holiday, 2) in the shower and 3) travelling to and from work. We get our most creative ideas, insights and solutions when we’ve got nothing on our minds. Yet how often have we been told to “think about it”; to grind away at our problems and hammer out solutions. That feeling of tension or agitation is actually a signal to ease up on your thinking, not to dig further into it. We each have an innate ability to come up with fresh new thinking that’s relevant and useful to the matter at hand, and it tends to arrive when you’re not thinking about it. As you get more comfortable with relying on this innate ability, you’ll benefit from the better decisions, innovative ideas and elegant solutions that emerge as a result.

Clarity Key #2: clear mind, less stress

Few people realise that the mind is a self-correcting system; mental clarity is the ‘default state’ to which the mind is always endeavouring to return. So what gets in the way? Answer: The ‘outside-in’ misunderstanding: the mistaken belief that our feelings are telling us about our circumstances, our future or our past. Your feelings are actually telling you about your thinking in the moment. Feeling stressed? You’ve got stressful thinking. Feeling peaceful? You’ve got peaceful thinking. Feeling angry? That’s angry thinking. Feeling motivated? You’ve got motivated thinking. We’re always living in the feeling of our thinking, but it often looks like we’re feeling our circumstances. The moment you wake up to the fact that you’re feeling your thinking, stress diminishes, your mind starts clearing and you become more fully present.

Clarity Key #3: smoother relationships and less conflict

The outside-in misunderstanding is one of the main causes of unnecessary conflict in relationships. Your response to a colleague’s insensitive remark or obstructive behaviour will be entirely dependent on your state of mind at the time. If a person is feeling stressed or insecure, they’ll often feel like a victim, as if their feelings are telling them about their colleague’s behaviour (they’re not - your feelings are always telling you about your thinking in the moment.) On the other hand, when you’ve got clarity, you’ll realise that your colleague’s words and actions are coming from their level of clarity in the moment. With a clear mind, you’re more able to listen deeply to others and feel the sense of connection that’s the conduit for impactful communication and strengthening relationships.

Clarity Key #4:  higher performance and productivity

World champion sprinter Usain Bolt says he thinks about anything but running before a race. When the starter’s pistol fires, his mind clears and he delivers gold-medal results. He intuitively knows that his mind is a self-clearing system and that he’ll have what he needs at the moment he needs it. This is true for all of us, but our misunderstanding about where our feelings come from often has us inadvertently ‘stirring up’ our thinking in an attempt to get the clarity we need. The more deeply you understand the ‘inside-out’ nature of experience (the fact that we’re always feeling our thinking), the more you can relax and trust your innate intelligence to bring you what you need. After scoring a match-winning hat-trick against Fulham, Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge showed up at his post-match interview clutching a copy of my book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results. He’s been on blistering form ever since, a clear indicator of the link between clarity and high performance.

Clarity Key #5: insightful understanding yields bigger results

The level of clarity you bring to work on a day-to-day basis will determine your levels of motivation, performance, enjoyment and results. So how can you massively increase the amount of clarity you experience? Answer: deepen your understanding of the principles behind clarity and the ‘inside-out’ nature of life. If you keep looking in this direction, you’ll have insights and ‘a-has’ that will make a profound difference to you and your work. Clarity may just be the biggest contributor to 2014 being your most fulfilling and productive year yet!

If you want to keep deepening your understanding of the principles behind clarity, go to to download your free 60-minute ‘Clarity Activator’ recording.