When do you get your best ideas? Have you ever paid attention to where or when good ideas appear? Conversely, have you ever noticed how hard it is to come up with a good idea on demand when you’re staring at a blank page?
If only there was some scientific research or a proven methodology to jumpstart your idea-forming process. Wouldn’t it be great if we could turn on inspiration with the flick of a switch?
Good ideas are like the spark that starts a fire. You might have plenty of time, all the resources you need, and the wherewithal to do a project, but without the flash of inspiration that ties it all together you’re going nowhere.
Ideas, like the inspiration that generates them, are mercurial. Much like that silvery liquid metal that lives in old thermometers, inspiration will slip away the moment you try to put your finger on it. The harder you push, the more stumped you become.
When it comes to creativity, far be it from me to suggest that there is a one-size-fits-all answer. You most certainly have your methods just as I have mine. (Personally, I have a belief that all intelligence and life on Planet Earth begins with the light from our sun, but I digress.)
Ideas, by their very nature, must outnumber actions by a large factor. If I were to act upon every alluring scheme that comes to mind, I would need to be cloned into at least ten different versions of myself. There are simply not enough hours in the day or days in the year.
So it’s a good idea to keep your cup of inspiration overflowing with ideas so you can pick and choose to find the best ones to act upon. When we coach people about how to conduct brainstorming sessions, we call it “priming the pump” — start with a big blank whiteboard, set a designated time to throw spaghetti at the wall, agree that all comments shall start with “Yes, and…” instead of “No, but…” and then see what sticks.
But what about those rare flashes of serendipity that come out of left field? You know, “shower thoughts”? (The shower, of course, being the most famous place for this variety of inspiration if the 26 million people on the r/ShowerThoughts subreddit are any indication.)
Well, once again, leave it to some enterprising researchers and scientists to put the proof in the pudding. It turns out that not only the shower, but anywhere that you are ‘moderately engaged’ but not totally bored is a time ripe for lightbulb moments.
Driving, showering, riding a bike, washing dishes, the list goes on. We were just discussing this out on our walk yesterday and I was relating how I like to keep it blank note on my phone ready so I can blab into Siri at any moment when a novel idea or a particularly juicy turn of phrase pops into my mind while I’m behind the wheel, (at a traffic light).
It makes sense somehow that when our body is moving on auto-pilot a backdoor into our thinking mind can open for inspiration to waltz right in.
So counterintuitive as it may seem, being mindful about allowing opportunities for mindlessness might be the ninja trick to magnify your creativity! Set yourself up for success with systems to capture your best thoughts on the fly, even if it might seem weird to keep a notepad next to your toothbrush.
Consciousness is a constant dance between focused outward attention and inspired incoming awareness. Much like the many breaths you have taken while reading this note.
May your travels between the two modes of thought prove fruitful this week!
Much love till next Monday!
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine
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