How often do you sit behind your laptop to get your work done? Whether it is for your job or school, somehow, it’s just not happening. The ideas are there… somewhere… you sort of know what you want to do, but not quite.
We have all faced it before, the creative block. So, how do you deal with it?
The Word “Inspiration”
“Inspiration” is usually defined as a new and improved way to solve a problem or answer a question. As you live your life, you sometimes get sucked into busyness and fixed routines full of challenges. Often, there’s this struggle on coming up with insightful solutions. I know, because I’ve been there many times myself.
Therefore, I want to help you by sharing how I overcome creative obstacles:
1. Change Your Mental State To “What If”
Sometimes, your own routines can be a major blockade to inspiration and creativity. If you think close-ended statements such as “I can’t…” or “I don’t know…”, chances are higher you’re going to create a negative self-fulfilling forecast.
Instead, change your mind to open-ended statements and questions such as “I will find the inspiration I need to solve this problem.” Or “What other possibilities are there?”, or “What if we try finding an alternative solution?”
These open-ended statements and questions are your creative resources. The trick is, don’t try to consciously come up with answers, but empty your mind and think of questions. Those questions might very well be the answers you were seeking for all this time.
2. Balance Between Pushing Yourself And Not Pushing Yourself
A big part of finishing a project is simply showing up to the task. The other part, you might push through with the task, even when you’re uninspired. This means you work every day, some days longer than others. At the same time, you don’t want your creative practice to turn into a joyless slog. Clearly, working too hard or too long can become counterproductive.
It’s really up to you to figure out your own balance between working hard and stepping away from the work. Finding your balance between working hard and letting your creative self recharge can be difficult, especially when you love what you do. But it’s a necessary part of creating your best work.
Try to do things you wouldn’t normally do that are uplifting and inspiring. Here are a few ideas: try unusual food you’ve never tried before, visit a different clothing store, take a different transportation to work, listen to other genres of music, talk to random people, or solve problems in a new environment. Experience the world from a way different perspective. As your perspective widens, so will your creativity. Like Einstein once said: “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination.”
3. Stimulate Your Brain With Exercise And Nature
A Stanford University study found that exercising, even walking, boosts creativity both during the exercise and shortly thereafter. Exercising can stimulate your brain by increasing the neuron movement in the brain’s hippocampus region.
Physical activities help to stimulate new thought patterns and help to get us out of our heads. Motion dictates emotion, but it can also dictate inspiration. So, put on your sports gear and engage in physical activities such as jogging, powerlifting, swimming, yoga, or cycling to bring forth new inspiring ideas and solutions. Incorporate exercising into your day to increase your overall intake on ideas and solutions.
If exercising isn’t working, nature is well known for their colourful revitalising powers. If you feel confused and need clarity, go to a scenery where you will be surrounded by nature’s colour of green and blue. They have a calming effect on the human sense. Use your senses to listen to the birds and creeks, and smell the fresh air. See this as a mental vacation. Perhaps this is exactly what your mind needs to revitalise.
4. Don’t Forget To Breathe Out
This is my favourite method. People tend to only breathe in fresh new ideas, creativity and inspiration. They keep breathing in, and in, and in, and in. Even then, they still search for even more, thinking something else out there will truly inspire them. Learn to breathe out.
Here is why: Nothing inspires you truly until you apply it to your work. With work, I mean your life’s output, which can either be creative, professional, or personal. Your work is your true inspiration.
Use this moment to reflect on yourself. How often do you keep taking in inspiration, but don’t do anything with it? Only when you think of your work through this new perspective, you can wake up and turn these ideas into new and improved realities. That’s the inspiration we’re all in pursuit of.
In the end, true inspiration is not the collection of inspiration, but the application of it. People think that if they keep watching TED, browsing books, read articles, meet people, or listen to talks, that they’re suddenly going to get inspired. The truth is, constantly taking in inspiration is uninspiring.
So, breathe in, BREATHE OUT! Let breathing out be the metaphor for you to apply it to your life’s output.
Originally published at ye-chen.com.
- How do you find inspiration?
- How do you deal with creative blocks?
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