Writing helps us to ground our ever-flowing thoughts. Walking is a great way to provoke insightful thinking. Doodling allows us the opportunity to visually explore thoughts as they come and go.
What all of these acts have in common is that they allow us to think deeply. I say “allow” because it seems that there is hardly any opportunity to really think these days. We’re bombarded with communication, stress, and stimulation. We have the television or radio endlessly droning in cafes, the ever-building burden of responsibilities, and the incredible pressures to compete with everyone and anyone for attention and opportunity.
When we are given just a few moments to simply think – to finely tune-in to what is going through our head at any given moment – we are doing what we do best, yet rarely have an opportunity to do well.
This, I think, is a crucial element in being able to think creatively: setting aside the time to simply think. Whether it’s doodling in a meeting, free-writing on a Saturday, meditating for 15 minutes in the morning, or visiting a museum to sit in quiet and ruminate about the work in front of you.
These things matter if we want to be creative, as they allow us to take control of our thoughts, to guide them, rather than letting them flow unconstrained, distracted, and weighed down.
If you want to be creative, you have to set time aside to think. It doesn’t matter how you do it, or really for how long, just that you do it.
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Photo by Scott Smith