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Articles tagged “inspiration”

<p><i>“The best ideas…”</i> (Hint: let it load.)</p>

“The best ideas…” (Hint: let it load.)

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Stepping back from creativity to move forward with it

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Stress hinders creativity by using available brain energy for non-creative tasks, like worrying or uncontrollably eating a pint of ice cream.

Because it signals to the brain that there’s danger nearby, stress restricts our focus by releasing tense-inducing biochemicals and reverting processes from one are to another (think: fight or flight, not fight and flight).

Focused on the things causing us stress, we lose our ability to produce creative output. Occasionally the stress can provide a much-needed break from the work, but more often than not stress makes it hard to be creative.

An article in The New York Times explains what happens in the brains of rats who fall victim to stress, and how it damages their ability to problem solve:

On the one hand, regions of the brain associated with executive decision-making and goal-directed behaviors had shriveled, while, conversely, brain sectors linked to habit formation had bloomed…Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist who studies stress at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, ‘This is a great model for understanding why we end up in a rut, and then dig ourselves deeper and deeper into that rut.’

Scientific studies on humans have also confirmed this, stress kills creativity.

Unfortunately studies have also shown that common stress-relieving techniques (like meditation, imagining positive scenarios, or yoga) don’t boost creativity.

To get back in a creative state then requires a more controlled approach: we have to limit, reduce, and remove stress from our lives.

The best way to break away from stress? According to research: take a break.

A prolonged vacation – either physical or simply away from a project – can be the much-needed boost our brains need to stretch themselves back into a more flexible, open, and ultimately creative mind.

For creative individuals, it’s vitally important that we learn when to take a break and when not to; finding the balance in our thinking.

Not stepping away from the work can ultimately hurt us more than pausing and coming back to our craft later.

Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw.

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“To have more creative ideas we need to evaluate not the color of the room or the size of our notebook, but instead whether or not we got a full night of sleep, what motivation we’re dealing with, our level of interest and curiosity, our ability to tinker and experiment…”

What really matters for having ideas and why the color of your room doesn’t matter

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New poster on sale today only

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Be More Curious

Be More Curious is a new poster to inspire you daily. It’s on sale today only for 20% off!

A collaboration between Creative Something and Startup Vitamins, this is a great way to remind yourself of one of the crucial aspects of creativity. Get it (framed or unframed) right here.

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When can you call yourself creative?

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Calling yourself “creative” is certainly a popular thing to do.

Creativity is – after-all – a much-needed resource.

But when everyone believes they’re creative, the word becomes diluted. Confusion sets in. What does it truly mean to be creative?

Is it enough to be a designer or musician? If I pickup a marker and write some fancy words, will that make more a creative? Is the man who doodles sketches in his notebook during boring meetings more or less creative than the team of engineers who produce revolutionary rechargeable car batteries? Whose to say?

Ultimately being “creative” requires that you produce ideas that are original and valuable, of course. But when nothing is original and when we’re forced to ask: “valuable for who?” calling yourself creative becomes muddy water.

So, is it fair to call yourself a creative if you haven’t invented a new standard for tech production? Can a starving artist who sells only one painting a year (for just a few bucks, nonetheless) still be considered creative? What about the amateur writer without a book deal, or even really a completed chapter, is she creative too?

I’m going to say yes, as long as the thinking is there.

Steve Jobs was right all along: creativity isn’t about revolutionizing the world, it’s about thinking different. If you just so happen to invent something world-changing or create a masterpiece that sells for millions of dollars, that’s just icing on the cake.

But if you have the guts to pursue the path least followed, to ask questions nobody is asking, to daydream and doodle and sing and design like nobody else is, go ahead and call yourself creative. If that’s the case, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Of course you’re creative.

Photo by James Victore. Follow him on Instagram.

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<p>There’s no guidebook to having ideas…</p>

There’s no guidebook to having ideas…

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