Tag Archives: creativity

Is the grass greener on the other side?

I have come to wonder if I am like the proverbial cow that wants to break through the fence and try the grass on the other side of the fence. Is the grass actually greener and tastier or is it all in my mind? Maybe I have the mind like a member of the bovine family. For the past 12 or 13 years, it seems that after about 4 years, I’m ready to move to a new location and I’m not just talking about the next town. It seems that I become disenchanted with the town, the people, the climate, or any number of things. I love to discover new people and places. It takes a while to get the feel of a place. You can’t really do that on a 2-week vacation. Fortunately, I own a business where I can pretty much work anywhere so this makes it pretty easy to do.

Cow trying to eat grass on other side of fence
Photo credit James Rickwood

This time, it’s a vocational edit

I am trying to break out of my vocation or at least add to what I am already doing. You see, when I was young, I had two dreams; to develop a new form of propulsion for space travel and own my own theme park. These may seem like two entirely different pursuits, but each has similar characteristics.
-Research
-Creativity
-Risk-taking
-Innovation
Both of these pursuits require a good amount of imagination, yet neither is for the faint of heart. One requires a significant amount of brainpower including physics, engineering, and math. The other requires lots of money. Actually both require money but opening a theme park, that requires a LOT of money.

Routine is good, just not for me

Are you the type of person that loves to create, yet wants to leave the daily running of things to someone else? That’s me. I love brainstorming, troubleshooting, and coming up with “What if” type of thoughts.
I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. I have been blessed to have many different talents and have put pretty much all of them to use at one time or another. For many, having to come up with new ideas each day gives them a headache. They are very happy to know what is expected of them each day and they do it well. At the end of the day, they feel fulfilled.

Don’t get me wrong, I have routines. For example, I go to the gym regularly, have my morning coffee, pray, meditate, and enjoy a nice beverage in the evening. I also routinely sit down and write down ideas each morning.

I love big projects and I cannot lie

I’ve always been one for big projects. When I was a kid, I built model rockets. You know the ones where you put an engine in them and launch them into the sky. I quickly built many of the store-bought ones but they just weren’t big enough and didn’t go high enough. One day, I had that “what if” moment and said to myself, “If one engine is good, 3 is better.” I then constructed a rocket that was 3 times as high as the store-bought ones, installed 3 rocket engines that would fire simultaneously, and launched it successfully. Getting that out of the way, I went and got two 12′ carpet tubes to build a 24′ rocket. This time, model rocket engines were not powerful enough so I decided to make my own rocket fuel. Let’s just put it this way, it didn’t end well.

The grass isn’t greener, it’s just different

If there is a zany idea out there, I will come up with it. I just need to find other zany minded individuals like me. I’m not sure where one would find these types of individuals. We should start some sort of club. There must be other “cows” out there like me that are stretching their necks trying to find that perfect clump of green grass. In the meantime, I will come up with more ideas and try and figure out how to implement them. So, if you see me leaning out the car window like a dog licking the air, it’s just me looking for that greener clump of grass.

Dog with head out window
Photo credit Shutterstock

The creative mind as a flywheel

What is a flywheel anyway? Per Wikipedia, A flywheel is a mechanical device specifically designed to efficiently store rotational energy (kinetic energy). Flywheels resist changes in rotational speed by their moment of inertia.

image of a large flywheel
Flywheel on Trevithick Locomotive

The large round thing in the image above is an example of a very large flywheel. Basically, they keep the piece of machinery in motion. It’s not very easy to stop all of that momentum once it gets started. That being said, it’s not easy to stop our minds once they get going either. Shifting mental gears is quite a feat. To be creative, I find that it doesn’t come naturally.  My mind is quite content to keep on spinning, keeping my thoughts going on what my routine expects.

Find a different place to think, a new location

Mark Batterson says that a change of pace + a change of place = a change of perspective. To slow down the flywheel of our mind, sometimes a change of place is required. I do my best creative thinking when I am not in familiar surroundings. This change of place, automatically changes the pace of our life, allowing our minds to slow down enough to start the creative process. New sights and sounds stimulate that part of our brain that help get our creative juices flowing. I do my best thinking away from my office.

Take a walk, get your blood flowing

It’s not enough to just go find a new place to think, I find it best to also be doing something while in new surroundings. I have a favorite spot where I go to think. I go to my local zoo in the morning when nobody else is around. I’ve tried to pick a spot to sit and think, but I find that I do my best thinking when I walk around the zoo taking in the sites and sounds.

3 elephants
A zoo is one place out of your routine

The key is to change up the routines of your day. Routine is comfortable, it is safe, it is …..well…..routine.  Get out of your comfort zone. Routine produces routine results. If you are happy with the results, don’t change, but if not, why not shake things up a bit and see what your flywheel, headed in the other direction can produce?

Stop the flywheel and let the creativity begin!

The muse can’t be ignored

Have you been kissed by a creative muse? If you have, then she cannot be ignored. She will be happy to be left alone for only a time, but will grab you with a vengeance and demand your attention. Of course, I am speaking of the mythological 9 muses. Zeus’s 9 daughters.
If you are one of those that has been “kissed” with a creative bent, then you will not survive very long before this muse demands attention. If you ignore her too long, she may curse you to a life of boredom from which you will not return.

The 9 muses

What is that creative Muse’s name?

The question is, “who” is that creative muse in your life or should I say “what”. Ok, so you know that you are creative, but creative exactly how? Are you a creative artist, musician, cook, playwright or thousands of other areas that require creativity? I have been blessed to be gifted in several things and my interests are wide and varied. I’m an excellent pianist, trained classically. I have high mechanical skills and have put that to use over the years. I love to take things apart to see what makes them tick. I like to see what I can do to make them work better. Both interests require curiosity and creativity.

For the past 10 years I put away my wrenches and my piano to make a living. I have spent it running a company. Now I type on the computer and try and figure out how to maintain our market share. Sure, it does require some creativity, but not daily. I have ignored this muse for quite a while, but now she is walking down Mt Olympus to have a very serious chat with me.  I can hear her say, “Ok, I have been quietly watching you, hoping that you would return to me, but you seem to be stuck. It’s time to return to me.”

Don’t let your Muse quit on you

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King

There is a time for sitting and waiting and then there is a time for action, the key is to know if this is a time of waiting, or if this is a time for action. I don’t believe in staying busy just to be busy. I think it important to stay actively involved in the area in which you know where your muse lives. If you are a writer, then spending all of your time on the golf course isn’t going to help you learn to write. It may give you some time to think, but you must at least practice writing until that great story arrives.

Demeter

If you are one to get depressed, waiting on your muse to bequeath you with that one great idea, then get to work doing something in the area of interest to get the creative juices flowing. It seems that harder I sit and consternate about what I should do, the less ideas pop into my head. This is a delicate balance. Busy enough to keep the inner demons at bay, but not so busy as to keep every creative thought from being able to rise to the surface. Many great ideas occur by accident instead of by sitting in a lotus pose waiting for that great idea to pop into our heads.

Top 7 things to keep your Muse alive

  • You need to spend your time with others that help you get your creative juices flowing.
  • Find groups of people who are like minded in the area of your muse. Even if it is only one or two people, get together with them on a regular basis to stay encouraged.
  • Stay away from those who squelch your creativity. You want to plant yourself in good soil that will be watered.
  • Limit your time on social media. It can be a creativity drain.
  • Spend time with pen and paper. Create your own images.
  • Just get started doing something.  Even if it is only 30 minutes per day, you will feel better afterwards.
  • Momentum only occurs once you start moving.