A crash course in changing the world.
Hello! This post is part of Jan Lampe’s Change your mindset series.
I'm hoping that this post will inspire people to think outside the box and embrace the creative mindset...if you want to join in, go to Jan Lampes changemind blog, read it, then decie what to post.
This is my post about getting into a creative mindset. The first part is boring, and explains the dynamics of a good idea. It also tells you how to treat the first seed of an idea and how to develop it. The second part is EXCITING !!!! and contains lessons to teach you how to open up your mind and start to produce the ideas.
Ideas easy to do when you understand that that great idea has to develop and change. It starts with seeds and shoots. Many people discard the seeds and shoots because they are embryonic and naïve. However, if you let the seed germinate and care for it – it MIGHT take root. It might take root after you let it brew for a few days. It might take root if you look back on it in a couple of years. It might never take root.
1) Keep a private notebook. Never allow anyone to see this notebook. This notebook is the start of your ideas. Most of these ideas will be rubbish, the notebook is there to contain the SEEDS AND SHOOTS of the idea, they will be worked on over time and provide you with inspiration when your brain can’t produce more idea material. Let your ideas be rubbish, let them stink, allow yourself to laugh at their stupidity, but you must KEEP them. If you show them to people, they WILL ridicule you, and think you are a bit of a twat. SO, keep them to yourself in the early stages, especially if you are fragile and easily offended and dissuaded.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN: The more you keep in your head, the more likely you are to forget it. I have about 15 full notebooks and when I go through them, there is always an idea that I’d forgotten – so give your memory a chance, and write everything down in a private notebook. The dud ideas will provide an endless source of amusement at a later stage.
2) Everywhere you go, every conversation you have, every book you read, every problem however small, can be the SEED of a great idea. These ideas can be business ideas, ideas to help your mother, ideas for a short story, ideas for a novel, ideas for your next career move. More often than not, they will be POTENTIAL ideas.
You are going to become an idea generator; you are going to do your best to develop every single idea, even if it is moronically stupid in the first instance. Remember though: know when a seed is rotten, and leave it in your notebook to compost. It might inspire you with something related at a later stage.
3) Research, plan and revise.A gardener doesn’t automatically know if all his seeds will produce a fruit, he plants all the seeds in the same way, and gives them the same treatment to ensure they are reaching their potential. Some sprout, some die. If you have researched an idea, made a plan, examined the feasibility of it and it still sounds good, then that idea has potential. You also need to be aware of how it is disproved. If you allow your idea to remain fluid it will have more chance of survival. For example, if you have stumbled on a piece of information that invalidates your idea – LET IT CHANGE, which brings me onto the next point…
4) Don’t LOVE your idea. If you love your idea so much it will be very difficult for you if it flops, and moreover, it will be difficult to let it adapt and evolve which will cause it to flop – upsetting you again. It is natural to be emotional and passionate about the cause that the idea is located in, but you have to let the idea be its own boss. This is true of business ideas not being resilient to changes, like the books whose writer refuses to edit, and like a perfect dress that your baby has outgrown. If the idea is not flexible, it can, and probably will, break. Nurture the idea, appreciate it for what it is and allow it to be the best it can be at any one time.
Okay – Lessons!
1) INSTINCT AND INNER EYE
Train your brain to develop your instinct. Increased creativity can come from trusting your instinct. This is verified by Rita Mae Brown, a US author and Social Activist who is quoted as saying “Creativity comes from Trust. Trust your instincts.” There are various ways to attempt exercising your brain in this context: a suggestion is offered below, but feel free to create your own:
1) Find a straight line to walk on– cut a long strip of wallpaper, or something similar. (don’t chose a high wire or curb etc. – we are not wanting to ignite the survival instinct at this point!)
2) Blindfold yourself at the beginning of your line.
3) Start walking along - when you think you have finished the length, Take notes on the straightness you achieved
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you increase you accuracy.
When you trust your inner eye your observations will sharpen. (I could suggest that you walk around your house in the dark, but I wish to steer away from potential law suits!)
Another exercise in trusting and developing your inner eye is to draw images blind – this has the additional advantage of beat everyone at Cranium and Pictionary.
2) BEING RISKY AND FEELING AFRAID
When we feel afraid we can be very creative because we need to survive and protect ourselves from danger. Fight or flight, we have to think fast, our adrenaline pumps and our mind is completely open to solutions.
When our brain does this, our neurons in the frontal lobe are extremely rattled; we are out of our comfort zone and open to whichever possibilities will save us.
Therefore, to get your brain open by scaring the s*** out of it.
I’m not proposing that you enter into risky behaviour that will hurt you or others, but I am proposing that even slight risk and fear can be enough to get your brain working in a way that isn’t used to.
Risky behaviour that doesn’t produce harm can be a great source of entertainment and amusement and have the added effect of releasing boredom. Boredom is considered to be a great enemy of creativity because of the negativity it generates.
1) Lie to people – cold callers are a great resource: tell them that your religion is Jedi and try to mean it. I have told a caller that my name is Janetjanuet – one word, and I’m the childminder and cannot make household decisions, when they ask when the owners are returning I have told them that I don’t know, that they were supposed to come home from work three days ago, but they still are not here. I have also told a British Gas caller that it’s against my nature to save money because it produces bad karma for me and that in a parallel universe someone will lose their purse. The same British gas person phoned again and offered to give me places where I could donate the saved money – and I was stumped! But it was GOOD FUN! It made my neurons crazy and hysterical and my brain felt alive.
2) Go somewhere and try to get lost. Sit in a café and ask questions to local people about whether they have seen a celebrity in the area. When you want to go home, you have to find your own way and not ask directions or seek a map.
3) Read books that challenge commonsense.
4) Wear stupid hats while you do your housework and promise to answer the door in it. I have done this twice, no one has ever delivered anything or tried to sell me anything while wearing my hat (an elasticated baby sunhat with sunflowers on it) but the feeling that any second someone WOULD come to the door was excitement enough.
5) Go to auditions that you have no talent in – I have entered for X-Factor (singing pink Cadillac!) and it’s the funniest scariest thing ever. I’ve enrolled my friend onto the idea as well, and we ‘auditioned’ for the sound of music with Andrew Lloyd webber. The people you meet are amazing – so different, some really ambitious, some being pushed into it, some prodigious – my friend and I talk to everyone we can which makes for some great little story ideas…
These are just some examples to free your mind…let the creative juices flow. Do something weird everyday for a week, doc**ent them and have no fear for the next idea is always around the corner…
Get into the creative mindset and reap the rewards.