Ever tried to come up with a creative strategy only to stare at a blank computer screen for hours or even days on end? Ever sat down to write a blog post and come up with absolutely nothing…nada…zilch…? You’re not alone. Trying to step away from a situation, change perspective and think laterally is something that we get hung up on and see as difficult essentially because we go about it the wrong way. Creative thinking isn’t something that you can turn on and off just because you have a deadline, and it can’t really be taught. But understanding how to tap into your creative brain can be learned.
In the film Karate Kid, Daniel-san expects to learn how to kick and to punch, and yet Mr Miyagi insists on teaching him precise methods for menial tasks like painting a house and waxing a car. Daniel-san soon becomes disillusioned with seemingly pointless exercises and is about to quit…until Mr Miyagi reveals that he has been learning all along, in this case how to perform particular movements that form the basis of karate.
Creative thought, whether for social communications, PR or creative marketing, is the same. The brain is split into two halves; the left hemisphere is more logical and structured, while the right hemisphere is more creative and spontaneous. The key to creative thinking and to experiencing creative ‘insight’ is to tap into the right temporal lobe, an area of the brain that scientists have proved increases in neural activity when insight occurs. And how do you tap into that? Do something else…
The theory goes that if you consciously occupy the left side of your brain with a simple task, the right side of your brain is freed up to work unconsciously on your problem. Which is why people say that their best ideas come to them when they’re in the shower, or when they’re cooking a meal, or when they’re driving. Very rarely will you get someone shouting “eureka!” after sitting in front of a blank PC for an hour.
So what does all this mean? It means, if you’re struggling with getting ideas, give up! Go and do something physical to occupy your pesky left brain and give your right brain some space. Chances are, half way into painting that garden gate enlightenment will come your way (guess what I did this weekend?). Just make sure you’ve got your mobile in your pocket with the superb Evernote app downloaded to record your light bulb moments.
And remember, Reader-san, like Mr Miyagi says: “wax on, wax off…”
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