It was pitch black as I used my cane and an outstretched arm to figure out where I was. Other people around me were doing the same thing in a true case of the blind leading the blind while cars honked and zoomed by. We heard our guide calling us towards him and we groped our way to his voice, canes tapping the pavement and arms scanning back and forth for obstacles.
No, this wasn’t a nightmare, but a theatrical experience called “Dialogue in the Dark” where you spend some 45 minutes virtually blind and learn what it’s like to live in a world where light is a precious commodity we mostly take for granted.
Creativity, like sight, is something we are all born with in varying degrees. It’s the ability to see connections and possibilities where others do not and to develop those ideas into something viable. Many of us may think rocks are more creative than we are since we aren't wired like Michelangelo, JK Rowling or Adele. There are things we can all do though to help us tap into the creative streaks within each of us. Here are five ways to get started:
1. Attend Creative Events: “Dialogue in the Dark” forced my brain to think differently about how to get around. Plays, museums, concerts, movies, art galleries or any other venue where creativity is a key component will open up pathways in your brain that can lead to creative breakthroughs
2. Exercise: Working out be it at the gym, jogging, walking or yoga has been proven to boost creativity. Studies have shown that almost every area of the brain is enhanced by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and the effect can last for up to two hours. I find some of my most creative ideas during and after I workout.
3. Take a break: Some people meditate, some take naps or read or just sit quietly taking in their environment. Resting your mind with inactivity may not instantly generate creative ideas, but this quiet time changes the dynamics of our brains. The noise, noise, noise in our world shuts out creativity for most of us while quiet helps the brain recharge and focus on creative tasks.
4. Work on a passion: Hobbies are a great way to get the creative juices flowing be it quilting, model building, jigsaw puzzles, writing, woodworking or whatever. These activities force your brain to make connections in different ways and open new pathways that can make the creative juices flow.
5. Always be curious: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in humans it can be a powerful way to generate creative thoughts and ideas. Always be willing to discover new things, ask questions, travel, explore and be enthusiastic about life. Take classes and be willing to learn because you just never know when new information will bring about the creative breakthrough you’ve been looking for.
Just for the fun of it, in my research for this article I found a website with 30 of the most innovate products you've never seen. Talk about creativity. They include flatulence filtering underwear, a heated butter knife (in case your butter is hard?), a door that converts into a ping-pong table, a magnet light switch cover and a pocket sized washing machine. While these may not be products you’ll ever need, it took a jump of creativity to even think these into existence.
Given the rapid changes in our world this year, your creativity can make the difference in landing a new job, gaining new customers, creating that product you dreamed about, or writing the book that will make you a household name. Creativity is like a muscle though, you must exercise it regularly to keep it in shape and always be on the search for new ideas.
Ayn Rand, who wrote “Atlas Shrugged” said, “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” And while you may think you’re creative as a rock, always remember Gary Dahl, the guy who took a rock and literally made millions with his invention called, ironically enough, Pet Rocks.