Have you felt dull, bored or uncreative lately? Do you feel trapped in a mental cage? While this happens to all of us, it’s a phenomenon frequently observed among the elderly who, as they become older, become less mobile, reduce their exposure to new things, and increasingly narrow their horizons.
So what is the problem? Is it just age? – certainly not. How is it possible to continue to keep an open mind and be creative? Is it by replacing a slow pace with extra busyness? No. Believe it or not, busyness can actually lead to the same outcome just mentioned for the elderly. Why? Busyness is just another kind of “fixed horizon” – think of a hamster running in a wheel.
Actually, experts tell us that the key to creative moments is when the brain is literally jolted out of its usual rut by unexpected environmental factors, and thereby “forced” to think differently. These could be events, places, people, sites, etc. that are out of the ordinary.
So if we want to be creative, we can just “wait” for it to happen “by accident,” or try to self-induce it through intentionally activating the above principle. In other words, we can purposely expose ourselves to external stimuli to produce this creativity effect i.e. “jolt.”
To illustrate the point, and get ourselves going, here are two examples of very practical ways to jump start the “brain jolt.”"
First, consider travel, or even a short trip, to another location. It has been verified that change of location is a great way to promote new thinking – change of sights, smells, people, history, entertainment, etc. Although it doesn’t have to be far away, the environment should be as different as possible from your traditional one.
Second, a much more budget-friendly idea…consider regularly reading literature (ex. magazines) that are completely outside your area of interest or expertise. If you like fashion, read a business magazine. If you like technology, read about travel, etc. While it will require you to leave your comfort zone, it’s a good (and cheap) way to get your mind thinking “outside the rut.”
There are a multitude of other ways, but this is just a sample to get the juices flowing. More importantly, grasping the concept of “brain jolting” gives you a chance to apply this principle in a way that works for you.
Does this resonate? Are there other techniques you can share to produce the same effect?
Picture: Norman_C_2009 via Compfight