How to prime your mind for innovative thinking, and two different industries begging for innovation

Building Blocks: Actionable insights to build an Intentional Life

Hey everybody,

Here’s another batch of actionable insights to start your week off right, so you can be more intentional with how you live, work, and create.

Let’s get started.

Insight 1: Innovation requires stillness

Entrepreneurs who spend every day putting out one small fire after another rarely innovate.

Because when we spend our time too close to a problem, we’re too distracted to find solutions.

Taking a step back from the daily minutiae helps us develop a “bird’s eye view” of our situation. Then, we can see where we’re at, where we want to go, what’s standing in our way, and how to overcome them.

We need downtime to develop the clarity to find solutions.

Here’s a Buddhist meditation that highlights the importance of practicing stillness to clear our minds and see the innovative ideas all around us:

Imagine your mind as a pristine lake—encircled by mountains. See how the lake’s surface reflects its surrounding environment—the mountains, trees, and sky.

​Now picture your thoughts as restless winds that ripple the lake’s surface. These winds prevent you from seeing a clear reflection of the mountains.

As your thoughts slow down and the breezes cease—once again you see the image of the mountains reflected perfectly in the lake of your mind.

​When the lake was disturbed by restless winds, it couldn’t reflect the mountains clearly. When the lake became calm, however, mountains, rocks, trees, and sky were perfectly mirrored on the lake’s surface.

So too does the human mind, when perfectly calm, flawlessly reflect one’s higher reality.

Innovative ideas are everywhere.

Stillness helps us see them clearly.

Insight 2: Mental health has a branding problem

Branding is about telling a story and using psychology to influence how people perceive your company or product.

So why does mental health—an industry rooted in psychology—have a huge branding problem?

Here’s what I mean:

When you think of going to therapy, how do you imagine it going? Laying on a couch talking to a soft-spoken Freud-looking therapist in a turtleneck scribbling on a clipboard as they ask you about your relationship with your mother?

That’s not therapy—at least, not usually (thankfully).

Therapy isn’t cool. And many young people (I’m 33 going on 80, apparently) are glorifying having mental health issues a la nihilistic memes about depression and anxiety that proliferate social media.

The mental health field overall can feel stagnant—(American) insurance hoops, bureaucratic red tape, rigid treatment models, sterile and aloof providers, and months-long waitlists to get an appointment.

Yes, there are a few companies trying to make therapy more accessible by offering therapy through text messages or other low-touchpoint services. Speaking as a psychologist, 99% of these companies are trash for a laundry list of reasons (inadequate treatment, don’t pay providers enough, predatory practices, etc.).

But! There’s a new company in town I’m intrigued to keep an eye on.

Mind 24-7 has an interesting strategy: they plan to be the “Starbucks of Mental Health” through better branding and increased access and hours for people.

Say what you want about Starbucks, but they know branding.

I’m not endorsing the company, but I love the idea of mental health companies taking a page out of Starbucks’ book and applying innovative branding strategies.

Imagine if mental health treatment was “cool?”

Branding is a huge gap in the mental health industry.

So if you’re looking for an industry to innovate…

Insight 3: Innovate through science

Athletes and sports teams are constantly experimenting with new solutions to gain a competitive advantage.

Cryo-therapy, dry needling, Wim Hof breathing, carnivore diet, stem cell therapy, cupping, the list is endless.

Because when you operate near peak performance, even a 1% increase can dramatically improve your chances of winning.

But, there are a lot of bullshit products out there that only “work” because of placebo effects.

Athletes are quick to try new solutions, but even quicker to abandon what doesn’t work.

So if you can leverage science to create evidence-based solutions to help athletes improve their performance—through better recovery, more efficient training, nutrition, or mental performance—you’ll stand out from your competition.

Imagine the customer loyalty…

Here’s a great video of a new evidence-based solution to helping athletes recover faster between sets, which translates to increased performance throughout the entire workout.

Question for the Week

Where are untapped opportunities for innovation you are uniquely positioned to capitalize on?

Share Your Insights

Know someone who’d love this content? Share it with them!

My goal is to help entrepreneurs be more intentional with how they live, work, and create.

So if you enjoy Building Blocks, I’ll be forever grateful if you help me spread these insights by sharing this issue with other entrepreneurs!

And if someone sent you this issue, email me and let me know what you think and what you’d like to see in future issues. I’m always working to making Building Blocks more valuable for you.

Insights in Action

One of the best ways to clarify your thinking is to write it out.

So if you want to develop your thinking on this question or start applying insights from today’s newsletter, send a tweet to @CoreyWilksPsyD with your thoughts and put #BuildingBlocks at the end so I can find it.

Not ready to “think in public” yet? No problem. You can also reply to this email if you want to share your thoughts with me.

Until next time—memento mori,

Corey Wilks, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Executive Coach


Check out the cohort-based course I’m building here.