Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
David Allen

Ended: June 13, 2011

Your automatic creative mechanism is teleological. That is, it operates in terms of goals and end results. Once you give it a definite goal to achieve, you can depend upon its automatic guidance
system to take you to that goal much better than “you” ever could by conscious thought. “You” supply the goal by thinking in terms of end results. Your automatic mechanism then supplies the means whereby.
Just like a computer, your brain has a search function—but it’s even more phenomenal than a computer’s. It seems to be programmed by what we focus on and, more primarily, what we identify with. It’s the seat of what many people have referred to as the paradigms we maintain. We notice only what matches our internal belief systems and identified contexts. If you’re an optometrist, for example, you’ll tend to notice people wearing eyeglasses across a crowded room; if you’re a building contractor, you may notice the room’s physical details. If you focus on the color red right now and then just glance around your environment, if there is any red at all, you’ll see even the tiniest bits of it. The implications of how this filtering works—how we are unconsciously made conscious of information—could fill a weeklong seminar. Suffice it to say that something automatic and extraordinary happens in your mind when you create and focus on a clear picture of what you want.
The great thing about external brainstorming is that in addition to capturing your original ideas, it can help generate many new ones that might not have occurred to you if you didn’t have a mechanism to hold your thoughts and continually reflect them back to you. It’s as if your mind were to say, “Look, I’m only going to give you as many ideas as you feel you can effectively use. If you’re not collecting them in some trusted way, I won’t give you that many. But if you’re actually doing something with the ideas—even if it’s just recording them for later evaluation—then here, have a bunch! And, oh wow! That reminds me of another one, and another,” etc.