We all are in search of our profound thoughts, that bit of brilliance we know is waiting to come to us. You know what I’m talking about: that boom moment that will make you a lot of money. That inspiration that will write your novel for you. Get you a zillion followers. Change your life. Direct your career. Make the world better. Tell you where all the Pokemons are….
Okay, so we might be going a bit lofty, but seriously, how do people come up with their ideas? Article after article claim the key to creativity is hard work, focus vs. multitasking, how much and what you read, and what you pay attention to. Yes, those are all fair points to help bring ideas into reality—but what about generating ideas in the first place? I’ve found there are some effective, less direct means. Allow me to present my secrets.
1. Take a long shower
Easy, right? The shower is a place where your body relaxes, your mind wanders. This creates the perfect environment for your mind to let go just enough for the current problem you’re working on to play through your head. It’s a little, sensory-deprived world, so those natural fears or blockers that our mind creates fall away. Your thoughts can veer in directions previously untouched.
Pressure to solve something is often the main hindrance to new solutions, along with those pesky external distractions. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes shower time in the morning or when you get home. It will do wonders.
2. The magic snooze button
Go to bed a bit early, or set your alarm 30 minutes before you would normally wake up. This is an excellent technique for creatives or creative endeavors, targeting a very special moment in the sleep cycle. It is right before you drop off into full sleep, or when you have woken up but are still dozing. This is the period when your dream cycle is starting/going on and you can remember them. Your mind dumps its fears, its joys, its jumble of everything you’ve seen or done into an enchanted miasma of new ideas clicking together. Your imagination runs wild through no awareness or filters.
Keep a pencil and pad, or your phone, by the bed. Write down whatever comes up in these moments, as you often won’t remember them later.
3. Dinner party
Have some fascinating friends over. Buy alcohol. Pair it with yummy food. Stay up a bit later than normal. End the evening relaxing around couches or table. Voila! Watch the new inspirations flow. Worst case, you feel really good and happily revived for life (or emotional and upset, which also makes for inspiration—just saying). Some of the best scenes in film, theater and media are set around the dinner table. Why is this? Because it is a contained place for drama, for humor, and for really, really interesting things to happen. Even better, go for a weekend away together. Surround yourself with interesting people, and you will automatically become more interesting. WARNING: This will not usually have the same effect if done in a restaurant or bar.
4. Other boom-moment activities
Travel. Somewhere new. By yourself or with a couple of others. Don’t miss the chance to chat with people from the area you’re visiting.