How To Have More Creative Ideas More Often

Friday, August 26, 2016

They're called sparks of genius and flashes of inspiration, but your creative ideas don't actually come out of the blue – they're rooted in science. Because of this, you can create a system and life that allows you to have better ideas more often.

Everything you've read, tasted, viewed, experienced, and learned over the years is stored in your brain as unrelated connections. A section of your brain called the superior anterior temporal gyrus (right side, just behind your ear) helps connect the dots and puts them together into a cohesive idea.

However, if you're stressed all the time or have created a crazy busy schedule with little-to-zero margin your brain has a harder time looking for those dots because it is so focused on what you have going on. When your body can relax, your creativity can shine as your creativity is really your brain connecting the dots and presenting solutions.

This is why many people get their best ideas in the shower. They are completely disconnected – no phones, no email, no social media – which allows the brain to get to work. In fact, the physiological need and inner desire to disconnect is so strong that some resorts have started offering "unplugged packages" where you can opt to lock up your phone/iPad/other devices at check-in and in return receive a spa treatment certificate and blank journal.

If you want better ideas as you continue to grow your business, create a schedule that allows you to regularly do something out of your norm. Read better books and read them more often. Go to museums. Go to the zoo. Watch well-made films. Watch films that make you laugh. Go for a walk. Go for a swim. Go kayaking. Go skiing. Learn to cook. Take up knitting. Make an A-Z list of countries and work your way through it by trying restaurants specializing in the respective culture's cuisine.

You don't have to this alone (though you certainly can). Make it a date with your partner, kids, or friends. The trick is to get out of your usual routine and allow yourself to have fun and relax.

The well-intentioned but misinformed "I can sleep when I'm dead," or "Vacation days are only for people who need to escape a life they don't love" mantras will put you behind in the long run. Create a habit of taking breaks and you'll find that you become more creative, more often.

Originally published December 2012

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