5 Ways to Give Your Creative Spirit a Nudge
By Sandy Schroeder
If you enjoy being creative, but sometimes have off days, Jonah Lehrer has some advice for you. He says creativity stems from several thought processes and we can all make ours more effective.
Lehrer’s book, “Imagine,” disputes the idea of creativity as a magic trick with ideas simply emerging from thin air. Instead, he believes creativity comes from thought processes that we can refine with tips like these:
Start looking for problems – Or raise some new questions about the world. Creativity often shows up and goes to work to provide an answer for a problem or a question. The more issues you raise, the more opportunities you have to create answers. It’s really a way of looking at life. If you accept everything as is, there’s little need for creative new suggestions. So go ahead, kick up some dust and surprise yourself with some spontaneous answers.
Hang in there – Creativity can be maddening as answers all seem to promise more than they deliver, but sticking with the problem can pay off. Many talented artists will tell you it took more than a few hours to create their best work. Often there were detours and dead ends, but sheer grit made it happen.
Pop in and out – Right up there with persistence, moving in and out of creative work helps to keep the work fresh. Taking small breaks may relax your mind, freeing you up for a better effort. When you return the answers may simply fall in place. Many of my friends find they have their most creative thoughts in their daily walks. The minute they step outside, the brain does a reset and starts to generate new material. Hot showers, or other tasks such as cooking, may free up your mind.
Travel a bit – Actually hit the road or fly somewhere, or simply travel to a quiet retreat on your patio to shift your viewpoint. Often everything looks different when you return, triggering new thoughts, words and breakthroughs.
Go back in time – Imagine you are 7 years old and you have the whole day free to do whatever you want; what would you do? Or, imagine yourself in today’s world with a whole day free to do whatever you wished. What would you choose to do? When a psychologist asked two groups these questions, the ones who imagined they were 7 years old came up with twice as many ideas. Perhaps, there is something about early childhood that makes us feel freer to invent whatever you wish.
If you like, take these five tips on a test drive and see what happens to your creativity. If you want to go further, then just keep thinking. Creativity always seems to benefit from a good nudge.
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