Stress makes you dumb. I sometimes experience the stress stupor myself, but science says so too.
If your mind is occupied with a range of immediate concerns your capacity for solving – or your bandwidth – is seriously diminished and your focus turns into a tunnel vision (or tunneling) targeting only one issue at the time.
Les Robinson’s review of Scarcity, The True Cost of Not Having Enough provides the scientific background to this concept and describes what impact this can have on people living in poverty. Les’ review contains some examples of what happens to a financially struggling person that is given a fixed set of appointments they have to keep.
According to Scarcity having a narrow bandwidth lowers your IQ. Also, adding additional hurdles to a struggling person sets them up for failure.
It just makes sense. The reason why I find this concept so fascinating is that it explains a lot of human behaviour. Scarcity looks at poverty and how change makers can utilise the research to effectively help people overcome poverty.
How does this apply to writers? If you write for a living you are effectively operating a small business, which comes with a myriad of challenges, pressures (including financial ones), timelines, deadlines, meetings. All of which kills your bandwidth for handling more. It lowers your IQ and kills your creativity.
Oh wait. Creativity is basically what your business is built on. In other words, by making writing your sole focus it becomes less of a focus than ever before…
Les provides a range of useful suggestion, this is my favourite: “For our own creativity, recognise that productivity, accountability and deadlines are corrosive forces. To be imaginative and innovative in our work, make times and places that are free from their malign influence.”
Are you a writer experiencing a narrow bandwidth and tunneling? How are you handling this challenge?