Just like meteors are constantly raining down on earth, creativity happens all the time, and we just don’t realize it. Creative thoughts come when we least expect them, when we’re not even trying, and if we’re not paying attention, they can evaporate as quickly as meteors when they hit earth’s atmosphere.
Sunday, I picked up the 2014 Farmer’s Almanac. I can’t tell you what prompted me to pick it up. I don’t live near the coast (no tides), my only crops are herbs, and with air conditioning and heating at my fingertips, long term weather predictions are not essential to my well being.
But when I thumbed through the Almanac the following article caught my eye: When Inspiration Strikes, Take Note on Whatever Scrap of Paper is at Hand. Short paragraphs followed on Emily Dickinson, economist Arthur Laffer, the Nobel prize-winning physicist Charles Townes, comedian W.C. Fields and others. All of them had the germ of a brilliant idea that they ‘d jotted down on the back of an envelope. Some more fully formed than others, but that was where inspiration had started.
Do you have moments when you get a “hit” – when a thought seems to emerge out of nowhere?
Some people have particular times of day or particular circumstances during which they get ideas. First thing in the morning, I shower. During that time, my brain is not filled with internet traffic or morning TV. When I am in the shower, I’m not thinking about anything in particular. I’m enjoying the hot water and the smell of lemon verbena and lavender. Often this is when the best notions pop into my head. Gradually my conscious mind recognizes, “Hey, that’s an idea! Hmm, that’s interesting.” At this stage in my life I’ve learned to listen and never, ever dismiss shower ideas.
Sometimes I’ll have “that idea” just as I’m drifting off to sleep or when I first wake up. Sometimes after a hike in a local wilderness area. Are these all brilliant ideas? No. But what I have found is that often they present a fresh approach or an alternative I hadn’t considered. The more I open my ears to hear them, the better the ideas I get.
Because our best ideas often come when we least expect them, we may ignore them because they don’t come to us when we are focused on solving the problem, having an insight, and creating something new. They come to us in unguarded moments when that judging part of our brain may still be asleep. This lets the creative part start talking.
Try an experiment this week. Notice when your creative part starts talking. Let it run. It may test you to see if you are listening. Capture it: on the back of an envelope, a cocktail napkin, a post-it note.
When do you get your best ideas? How do you capture them? Let me know!!
And don’t forget, if you want to love your career and your life and need a plan to get you there, come on down to Nashville for an incredibly productive and fun-filled Discover Your YIPPEE Retreat. Spaces are getting snatched up fast, so email me immediately if you are interested. It’s going to be a fabulous weekend of incredible food, fantastic southern music and, most of all, a chance to get you on the road to a life of Yippee.
Until next Tuesday.