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Mindful : February 2019
them together to make something new. When you’re bored, you find the space to ask, “What if?” It ignites a network in your brain called the default mode, which some scientists refer to as the imagination network in your brain. Is the default mode the same thing as being on automatic pilot? So yes, physically you’re on automatic pilot, right? You’re folding laun- dry or you’re walking or you’re not doing anything that requires focused attention. And so you click over into the default mode, and you just kind of space out. And it turns out this default mode is where you do your original problem solving—including something called autobiographical planning. This is where you look back at your life, you build a personal narrative, and you plot out the steps to reach where you’re going to go next. When I learned this I was like, Well, what if we changed our digital habits? Could we make ourselves more bored on purpose? So I came up with this seven-step program (see page 56) to do just that. But doesn’t it seem like the state we really want is “flow,” where you’re totally immersed in what you’re doing? Yeah, but how do you get into flow? You don’t just snap your fingers. I always think of how, when I was a kid, I’d draw and then two hours would be gone. And I’d be like, “ What just hap- pened?” It was this wonderful feeling of having lost yourself in time and space, and I wanted to feel like that all the time! But how did I get there? It requires the proverbial blank page. It requires me to feel the discomfort of “I don’t know what to draw. But there’s nothing else to do. All right, well, I’ll just start with a circle.” → February 2019 mindful 53 the mindful interview