Shaking Things Up

Orange ButterflyOne of the things I suggest to all my creativity coaching clients is to shake things up. Break out of the routine. I tell them to eat new foods, drive to work a different way, put their clothes on in the morning in a different order and go somewhere they have never been before.

Our thoughts, our linear mind, are tied to the familiar, to what we already know. Yet our brain has the capacity to entertain infinite possibilities. Part of being creative is learning to use more of our brain and access our ability to make connections in new ways.

Yet when we do everything the same way day after day we create habit patterns that build neural ruts in our brains, so those become our default way of being, acting and doing things in the world. We become numb to the possibility of the new and find it difficult to change our ways even when we think we really want to.

One thing that can really open us up is travel, a change of scene. The experience of another culture or even a different region of our own country or state helps us open our minds and create an awareness that there is more than one way of being or doing things, which in turn can open us to a fresh perspective from which we can create something new.

Researchers at the Kellogg School of Management have found that students who lived abroad for an extended period of time were much more likely to solve a difficult creative problem than student who have never been out of their home country.

When we get home from a trip, whether it’s a vacation out of the country or just somewhere different for the weekend, home may still be the same but something within us has shifted leaving us open to new ways of seeing and doing things.

You can also shake things up creatively by working with a new form. If you’re a writer, get a box of crayons and just play with colors and shape. If you’re a painter, read some poetry. If you’re a dance visit an art museum. The more we open to the world of expanded possibilities, the more we awaken to our creative potential.

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3 Responses »

  1. Loved this excellent point about repetition that you make: “…we create habit patterns that build neural ruts in our brains..”

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    suzanne Reply:

    Yes, thanks for your comment. I agree it’s an important point to grasp because it works for good habits as well as the ones we’d rather not have.

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  2. Great post! Just signed up for your newsletter!

    [Reply]

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