Creative Thinking Hub

Thousands of ideas & resources to help you think more creatively. By Jim Connolly

Category: Creative Thinking (page 1 of 14)

Creative thinking and removing the blocks

Have you ever been unaware of a noise, until the noise suddenly stops?

You know, like when someone outside is using a lawnmower, and you suddenly notice the silence, when they turn the lawnmower off?

Our minds work like that. Very often, something is blocking us from being able to think with clarity or focus. Yet, we don’t realise it, until that thing is removed.

Worth considering, the next time you’re struggling to create.

Creativity, touch and feel

I wrote recently about how tablets and mobile phones were far more than mere consumption devices. Today, I’d like to share an example of exactly what I mean.

One of the things I have always loved about writing on paper with a pen or pencil, is the tactile connection between the page and my hand. Writing via a keyboard has always felt like there was too much distance between me [my fingers], which were on the keyboard, and the page, which was on the screen of my computer.

Disconnected

It seemed somehow disconnected. This wasn’t much of an issue, until I needed to write something creative. Then, I’d always need to start by fleshing the ideas out on paper first. I’d only use my MacBook after the creative element of the composition was in place.

Then I decided to try something new

I decided to see how it felt, literally, writing with a tablet device, where my fingers connect directly with the screen. I immediately noticed that I felt closer to the words… not just in a literal sense, but closer mentally.

If you own a tablet device, give it a try. Whilst nothing is quite like using a nice pen or a freshly sharpened pencil, a large screen tablet device provides another tool for your creative arsenal. The creative experience is certainly different enough from using a traditional keyboard, for it to change your creative state.

That’s worth remembering, the next time you’re struggling for inspiration at your keyboard.

A New Year and another chance!

new year

A New Year. A new chance.

Another opportunity to be the author of your own story… the composer of your life’s music.

Now do something with it!

How to do the impossible!

You need to be really careful about the limitations you place on yourself. This brief article explains why.

I’d like to start by asking you a question: When was the last time you consciously thought about, what’s really possible for you?

One of the reasons children are so creative, is that they are open to all possibilities. We all start off that way. Then, as we grow up, we apply various filters to our thinking, as we determine what is and is not possible for us. The challenge, is that we often get it wrong. This causes us to wrongly remove possibilities from our decision making and creative thinking, which unnecessarily restricts us.

Understanding what is and is not possible for you

Imagine Bob tried to play the guitar when he was 12 and found it extremely hard, then quit. He then decides he can’t play the guitar and being a guitarist gets added to the list of things that are not possible for him. Now, Bob also discovered as a kid, that he couldn’t fly like superman, after he tried to take flight, Superman style, when jumping from a tree.

Bob’s flying like Superman experience was filtered as not possible, based on fact. His guitar experience was filtered as not possible, based on fiction. If Bob really wanted to play guitar, with the right tuition and a tuned guitar, he would get there and play to a lesser or greater degree. With enough practice, he could then become very good.

Just like Bob, we too make similar, incorrect decisions on what is and is not possible for us.

Rethinking my possibilities

In 2002, I decided to rethink what was and was not possible for me. I had a successful, traditional marketing business in London, England. My challenge was that I was passionate about working in marketing, but wanted to move with my wife, to live in the countryside, where there were few potential clients. My initial thought was this isn’t possible, I need to be where my clients are. As I didn’t want to waste hours each day travelling, it seemed I was destined to stay in London and put my dream of a home in the countryside on ice for 30 years, until I retired. UNLESS I found another way.

So, my challenge was to find an alternative way to deliver my services and run a viable business. I decided to embrace the technology available 10 years ago, and deliver my services remotely. It worked. Beautifully. Instead of working with people in my local area, I had clients worldwide and still do today. Within 12 months, I was living in my dream home, working fewer hours, running an extremely successful international marketing business and earning more than I used to when I was in London.

Still today, I know people who say they would love to relocate as I did, but that it’s just not possible.

Rethinking your possibilities

Take time out today to rethink your own possibilities.

In particular, examine the stories you have told yourself, which may have wrongly removed possibilities from your treasure chest of options.

Stuck? Try this useful problem solving tip!

Sometimes you get so close to a challenge, problem or project, that it smothers you… and your creativity.

Give yourself some distance

When you’re stuck or making too little progress on a creative project, put some distance between the project and yourself. Imagine the project is in a different place, miles away from where you’re working. Look at it again, this time from a distance.

This study confirms what many have known for years. That viewing a creative project from a distance alters our connection with it. This subtle change shifts our perspective. It gives us fresh eyes and a chance to see what we were previously blind to.

Try it!

Consumption devices or creativity machines?

iphone-5s

Mobile phones and tablets tend to be regarded as consumption devices.

This is factually incorrect. Seth Godin has it wrong.

The device is simply a tool

It’s the device’s owner who decides whether to use the technology to create or to consume. And when they consume, it’s their choice what they choose to feed their mind with.

[Note: Most of the updates on this site were written and researched using mobile devices.]

Show… don’t tell

Telling is easy. That’s because talk is cheap. Anyone can say anything.

Showing is tricky. That’s because you have to create. You have to put your art out there and risk the ire of the critics.

Of course, this is why there’s never a shortage of tellers. It’s also why those who show are so extremely rare.

If you want to get noticed, the answer is clear. Show… don’t tell.

Creativity and the tools we use

I’ve visited the room where Dylan Thomas did much of his writing and also the tiny shed where Roald Dahl wrote.

Dylan_Thomas_photoSomething that struck me about these amazing writers, was how extremely typical their surroundings were.

Nothing fancy. Just a space to create, where they could think and work.

The mechanics are secondary

Often, we get caught up in the mechanics of creativity. What software to work with… which type of computer to use.

I think to a lesser or greater degree, these are stalling tactics. Find the mix that feels right for you, then create.

The rest is largely unimportant.

Don’t think about making art

“Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they’re deciding, make even more art.”

– Andy Warhol

Thinking differently?

Think

Have you ever noticed how those creative geniuses you see on TED videos or Creative Mornings videos, almost all use Macs?

Ironically, none of them are embracing Steve Jobs’ mantra, “think different.” Instead, they’ve joined the same predictable design cult. They stand on stage, eager to share how uniquely original they are, creating from the same limited tool kit as their fellow creative thinking gurus.

I find that odd — odd, limiting and narrow minded.

Thinking different with different tools

As well as pencils, pens and paper, I use 2 Macs, a Windows PC, a Linux PC and a number of android devices. Each works differently. Each has different software.

Each causes you to (literally) think differently, when you use them.

Maybe a more useful way to come up with creative ideas, is NOT to limit yourself to one hardware or software platform.

I wonder how Warhol’s art would have been limited, if he’d followed the crowd and insisted on using only oil on canvas? Think about that for a moment!

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