Welcome to the second installment of Mondays in June. I’m following up my last creativity post by continuing our discussion of Creativity, Ideas and Inspiration: Getting Where You Want to Go
Previously, I left you with the idea of consciously choosing creativity. What else can you do to generate more and/or better ideas?
One of the things I do (and a lot of other people too) is to expand my horizons or change my environment.
Not by redecorating although that might work too. What it often takes is a small change like moving from one room to another or from inside to outside. Then sometimes it takes a bigger change like leaving home to explore new places. The biggest of all changes to your environment is to go someplace significantly different from what you are used to – a different culture. (It doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your country!)
It’s an old saying but true “Travel broadens the mind.” Mix it up and see what new ideas come your way when you leave the confines of your comfort zone and explore someplace different.
Tom Kelly in his book Creative Confidence suggests that to increase your creativity/ideas you take a class, read an unusual (for you) magazine or blog, listen to new music, take a different route from your usual, take a break with someone who can teach you something new, etc “A wandering mind can be a good thing.”
When you change your environment you get immersed in a whole new world. You are obliged to see things through new eyes. Be ready. Be open. Be brave! And, by the way, have a method by which you can jot down your new insights. Not just one. Or two. But lots and lots and lots of them!
For example, this is a photo that inspired me to begin a new project.
I wasn’t exactly sure where to start so I went to look for some paint but this fabric grabbed my attention.
It was the impetus for changing the direction of my idea which turned out so much better than I could have imagined.
By changing my focus, I began to step back from the problem far enough to find a new and improved solution to the project in front of me. My mind was subconsciously working on the problem.
What else can you do to encourage an abundance of ideas?
Believe it or not, my advice is Relax!
It seems the average mindset for solving a problem is to focus on it more intently; to invest more time trying to sort out some kind of solution. Longer hours, harder work, less sleep, less time spent doing fun stuff – like having a picnic.
And sometimes this method works when once you have dedicated an inordinate amount of time and effort. Perhaps then you allow yourself to go play.
It is how we reward ourselves for hard work. But a lot of the time, we work and work and get nowhere. Our forward momentum is stymied. We find ourselves stuck!
So it is counterintuitive to suggest that playing or daydreaming can help you when you are at a standstill. Among people who have studied and written books about creativity, you will find that in one form or another, they all indicate that playing, daydreaming, or relaxing is a vital part of creativity.
There are times when I am in the midst of a project where it looks like I am just wasting time staring into space. Actually, what I am doing is pondering options and various ways to go with my project – daydreaming in a sense.
Let’s review the some of the ways I have mentioned so far that will help you generate ideas: choosing creativity, expanding your horizons and by daydreaming. These are not by any means the only way to generate ideas. That’s why there are so many books on creativity! I have chosen these three because they are part of my experience. Something else might work for you but only if you pursue it.
Now I return you to your irregularly scheduled blog posts here on bearbits!
Have fun! Take a chance!