The thing about creativity…
Is that you can’t force it, right? Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true.
I got onto thinking about this recently, after a “creative brainstorm session” for one of our clients. I didn’t manage to come up with anything good . In fact, I couldn’t come up with anything, not even anything bad. Just nothing.
Shortly afterwards I picked up on one of Depak Chopra’s ideas, and it really stuck with me. Basically, he says that to be truly creative, we need to detach from the future as well as the past, and just be present in the moment we exist in. We need to engage a childlike sense of naivety, leave our hang ups at the door, and just be a in the moment.
Then, a few days later at a creative brainstorming session with an affiliate PR agency, the idea came up again. This time, the key to creativity was described similarly, but not in the same terms. It went something along the lines of “Have you ever noticed that all your best ideas come to you when you’re relaxing? When you’re lying in the bath, or walking your dog?”
It occurred to me that the few ideas in my life that I am still proud of, have all come from a headspace in which I wasn’t thinking about anything. I wasn’t controlling my thoughts by attaching them to future worries, or feelings from the past.
I was just being. And this is what people tend to do when they engage in their favourite, mindless pastimes. Essentially, that is what ’relaxation’ is. And it makes sense – how can we expect to stimulate our brains in the unique ways required to come up with original, and compelling ideas if we are allowing our attention be absorbed by worrying about the future, or fixating on the past?
It’s no coincidence that Steve Jobs was a Buddhist. Core to Buddhist principles is the idea that we need to constantly strive to maintain a clear, present head space. We need to relax and allow the universe to unfold around us. In doing so, we are pouring less of our energy into our stresses and worries, and allowing more of it to flow freely, and ultimately for our minds to then stumble on to the kind of ideas that we want to come up with.
I realise that this blog piece is a little different to most of what we have posted before, but I feel like it’s the most important thing I’ve written here yet, because although tools such as analytics, ROI, and Facebook’s Edge Rank are important, we work in a field where creativity is our most valuable asset, and engaging it is often our most challenging process.
Creativity comes from a certain level of consciousness that we all have in us. If we want to engage it, then we need to learn how to actively engage that consciousness – and that’s what I’m all about now. If I don’t come up with something mind blowingly awesome in the next few months, you can all call me a delusional hippy on Twitter.