Ever have a “slump”? You know, can’t seem to close the sale? At a loss for that right interview presentation to land the job, fresh out of writing ideas, can’t seem to get your team to focus, can’t find synergistic solution to a problem or perhaps your bowling game is just off? You are in a slump, a creativity road block, that hinders your performance and you are not sure how to shake it off. In fact, the more you try to focus on the solution and break through the more restricting the block seems to become.
Good news! The solution may be more simple than you think and intuitively you already have some of the answers. More often though, the real challenge is putting these steps into action, mentally letting go and then following through on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean to push yourself harder nor does it mean stop and do nothing, it simply means listening a little more closely to your body, mind and your surroundings. Sounds like some sort of Zen proverb ,doesn’t it, but scientific and medical evidence continues to bridge traditional Eastern vs. Western thinking. Here are some specifics that you can test out, today and some facts to go with it;
1. Health Check
Time for a little “sharpen the saw”, “recharge the batteries” and other clever clichés.Creativity requires energy, both physical and mental and in today’s workaholic, multitasking, information overload world, personal health can be the first thing to go to the back burner. Research continues to show that the proper combination of diet, rest and exercise can greatly impact mind, body and energy levels. For more on improving personal health see; http://www.bluezones.com/
2. Take a step back
Taking a break, changing the environment, having some fun allows the mind and body to relax. That alone often frees the thinking and causes the creative juices to start flowing again. When we get into a rush or try to force a solution stress kicks in, thought process and even physical action/reaction locks up. Listen to some calming music, watch a funny movie, watch/participate in sporting events or just spend some time with family or friends.
3. Investigate/Invest in new skills
Today’s culture prides itself on the diversity of global thinking but human beings still are creatures of habit. We listen to the same radio station, eat at the same restaurants, watch the same sporting events, discuss the same topics with our friends and repeat the same workouts at the gym…just to name a few. We avoid new environments like the plague because it disrupts our personal comfort zones, but think about the last time you were thrown into a circumstance outside of your routine. Have you ever discovered a new interest or had an insight because someone or something forced you briefly out of your comfort zone? Ever wonder why so many breakthroughs were, “stumbled upon by accident”? Try something new!
If there was ever a time in human history where there was a need for developing the ability to harmonize our thoughts and our bodies, it’s today. Laptops, cell phones, Ipods, Ipads, email, voice mail, text messages, instant messages, not to mention the traditional lure of the television can all keep us, “plugged in” and on information overload. Add the demands of career, family and friends and is it a wonder that people struggle for moments of clarity? Books like, “The Intention Experiment” by Lynne McTaggart and “Wisdom” by Stephen S. Hall continue to add scientific evidence to what happens in the brain and body during real meditation. There are many forms of meditation, several do not require you to spend hours seated in postures like the visuals of the Tibetan monastery, but they all have the same things in common; promoting better breathing, relaxation, clarity of thought and the ability to tune your physiology.
(Personal Note: I get up at 4:00am almost every morning because it’s very meditative for me. Some mornings I physically meditate, some I exercise, others I read & write or just think about the day ahead. It’s quiet and feels like I am up before the rest of the world. It took time and practice, but has had an incredible impact on my creativity and well-being. I’m not suggesting that everyone gets up before the roosters, only that it’s one example of creating a meditative environment for yourself.)
CHALLENGE: There is so much conflicting “expert opinion” these days that it can be hard to know what to believe. The best way to verify a strategy like this in not to take my word for it, but test it out for yourself. Have some fun with it! Try not to be in a big hurry either, take the next 90 days minimum and test these ideas out for yourself. Think of it as personal exploration instead of some big expectation to prove or disprove. Try a little of each and review how you feel as you go;
- What small things could you do towards improving diet, rest and exercise?
- When your thinking gets locked up, step away, change topics.
- Friends or family trying to get you interested in something? Give it a try
- Meditation can be a very personal experience. Place, time and method all play a role.