Every one of us has experienced the block in some way. You know, that time when your brain seems to have lost every shred of authenticity and the capacity to think creatively.
It happens to all of us in business or personal life. Personally, it has happened to me on countless swing. Sometimes the unending, drab routine of our existence can suppress our creative spark, making us little more than mindless, mechanical constructs.
To get over this we need a jump start, and this usually requires us to do something we have never done before or at least not in a long time. Jumpstarting is always the hardest part for me.
Here are a few ways to jumpstart our minds and get us out of our creativity ruts:
(1) Conversations with Friends, Colleagues, and Strangers
Personally, I believe Ideas usually come as a result of a brainstorming session or just a random thought (the latter tends to happen to me a lot). However, a good number of times, these ideas do not come complete or worse; they are completely useless where it concerns the current project.
Simple conversations with your friends and colleagues can often spark a fresh idea in your mind. The idea you get from this conversation, may not fit the current project at hand, but it may help accomplish a subsequent project.
So always write down ideas that come to your mind as they are valuable resources that should not be wasted.
(2) Visit New Places
Have you ever stayed in one place so much it begins to feel like a black hole, sucking all the life – and creativity out of you? It could be your office space or even your home. Sometimes all it takes is affording you the experience of new environments.
A spark of creativity can come from all sorts of places, ranging from the predictable to the weird. Mine happen a lot whenever I’m around hotels, bars, parks, record stores, libraries and bookstores, etc.
You could plan random visits to places like the opera house, and the Grand Canyon. Perhaps, intentional pre-scheduled visits are more your speed, you can check out anything from art museums to tours around the zoo like I did when I visited Audubon Nature Institute for sightseeing.
Either way, a change in scenery almost always hits a reset button in the recesses of our minds, allowing us to think creatively once more.
(3) List 100 Things
100 Ways to Generate Revenue, 100 Things You Would Like to Change, 100 Things I am Grateful For etc. These are examples of mental exercises that can spurn your mind into action. I’ve used this a few times to jumpstart my mind when it was inert.
You can do this by picking up a pen and paper (or open a new document on your word processor), and write down the question or issue you want to address at the top of the page.
It is best you number the lines on the page from one to one hundred before you start filling the list. You do not want to distract yourself by repeatedly going back to check how far into the list you are.
With this strategy, sometimes, ideas can come at you so fast that you may not have the time to describe them all in full sentences – just summarize and move to the next item. Your priority is to complete the list; do not try to evaluate or judge any of the ideas until the list is complete. If you find that you have duplicate entries, do not remove them; it will probably give you an insight into the way your mind works.
(4) Identify Your Creativity Trigger
For me, it’s movies and music. Everyone, even if they do not know it yet, have an inspiration trigger – something that sparks their imagination to create and innovate.
It could be anything: a specific type of music or artist, writing the script for a screenplay or a movie, organizing parties and get together, sitting and observing others, nature or reading non-fiction.
If you do not know what your trigger is, make every effort to find it and cast your net wide when doing so. Your trigger makes it easier for you to keep your creative juices flowing, making, which in turn keeps your life on course and productive.
(5) Exercise Your Imagination
The power of imagination cannot be underrated or undermined; it is the bedrock of all that is created.
A quote I love so much by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is, “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
Creativity and innovation stem from our ability to imagine (visualize), and that is the first and most crucial step.
Frequently exercise your imagination. Visualize yourself in a space where all your goals and dreams have been accomplished, visualize how it will feel. This has a huge positive effect on your subconscious, forcing you to come up with creative ways to work at your goals and dreams. On the power of imagination, Henry David Thoreau says, “the world is but a canvas to the imagination” and I can’t agree more.
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