Did you wake up not feeling all that creative today?
I know the feeling. Some days it seems like all the good ideas have been taken. Some days it feels like plans may be stalled. Some days it looks like things are working against you.
The silver lining here is that usually this only lasts for about a day. Set backs tend to happen but sometimes they can open up a new pathway to something even better.
When your not feeling all that creative or feel like you’re really stuck and can’t figure something out it can be really helpful just to write everything that comes to mind. When you start you may look at it in the beginning and tell youself that it’s not that good and say to yourself ‘why would someone want this?’. However, as you continue to go you’ll start to pickup momentum. The words will begin to write themselves and you’ll start to feel that flow state where you look up and hours will have passed – lost in thought and too focused to care.
This brings me to my first point – if you’re not feeling creative don’t think. Rather just observe your thoughts and write them down. I find that if you just relax and let your mind wander you end up getting what you want in the end and sometimes not consciously even know it. It makes me contemplate the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious. I think that we can consciously think that we want something (the director / architect you) and then our subconscious (the actor you) figures out how take that want and put it into motion. While there is no way to output how our machine works for me having a conceptual model helps to get into a headspace that will yield results that I want.
It seems like we perform mental rituals or more like sequences of mental events that get us to what or where we want. When we problem solve we have to go through cycles. When we feel grief and loss we go through cycles. When we are confused or frustrated we go through cycles. When finding patterns like these I like to find ways to cut through that cycle to get back on my path. When these patterns come up again you can look at it as Ray Dalio puts it ‘just another one of those’.
Other ways to spur your creativity is to just find something – anything and read it. The goal here is to just get your mental machine turning. It is easy when things start to go well for you to lose creativity. It seems natural to me as creativity is born out of necessity to solve something. When it seems like there is nothing to solve then it feels like creative energy can be lacking. However, there are always problems to solve that may not be immediately observable at the moment – not to say that you should create problems for yourself to improve creativity but rather to spend some time alone and just start thinking. I’ve read that when we are not focused then we start to think negative thoughts. Within our brains I’ve read that the Amygdala is responsible for feelings of risk, fear, and anxiety while the Neocortex is associated with reasoning, intelligence, and consciousness; a set of concepts that are generally engaged when we are thinking positively and about the greater good rather than just ourselves. Whether this is scientifically accurate to me is sort of irrelevant. For me when I conceptualized this mental model and focus on harmonizing the two different ‘yous’ it feels really good and puts me in a state of mind where I can do anything that I choose. Sitting and thinking in my mental model allows the Amygdala to serve up issues and concerns while my Neocortex sorts them out and figures out what to do about them so that I can get what I want more consistently and effectively – which in turn helps me figure out how to replicate this process with others and make the world a better place (or at least in theory).
In summary creativity is something to me that can be manufactured mentally and doesn’t have to be something that hits like a lightning bolt. We can control our world through our actions by understanding our mental patterns better. When we’re in a mental headspace that allows us to see patterns well then we can see patterns in others. When we see patterns in ourselves and others then we can see patterns in externality that we all may perceive that we don’t have control over. When we hit roadblocks the cycle may start again but if we get really good at cutting through this cycle then we’ll get more of what we want and less of what we don’t more often. That sounds pretty good to me – doesn’t it?