Svanholmen Island, Sweden.
I am writing this on my Island in Sweden. It is the last day of our five week stay here and today’s post, just like the last few posts, will be influenced by the fact that I have been sitting isolated on this island for a long time.
My most recent posts have been about why not speaking so much makes you a better speaker. This post is about why reducing your inspiration will get you better ideas.
The word “Inspiration” has three meanings.
1) “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
And that is why I choose to travel so much around the world — to see, experience and learn new things from different cultures.
2) “A sudden brilliant or timely idea. As in: ‘then I had an inspiration’.”
The funny thing with ideas is that the most brilliant ones do not come when we are inspired as per definition number 1. Great ideas do not come when we are inspired – they come when we are nothing but inspired.
Which brings us to the third definition of “Inspiration”:
3) “the drawing in of breath; inhalation.”
This is how I look at creativity — the process of having great ideas consists of two steps:
a) Breathe in as many new things as you can.
b) Breathe out.
The breathing out part is what many people forget. Because to have great ideas, you can not just keep filling your brain with inspiration. You also need to give it time to process all those new and inspiring things that it has received.
And you do that by doing nothing.
Pick any great idea from history and google how or when the person who had that idea had it. There is a huge chance that the eureka moment happened when the person was relaxed and doing nothing.
JK Rowling was sitting on a train and got the idea for Harry Potter.
Archimedes was sitting in a bathtub when he noticed that the level of the water in the tub rose as he got in, and realized that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown.
And so on.
Ideas are best bred in silence.
So, for the last five weeks, I have been doing a lot of nothing. Sitting on a bench overlooking the sea and just waiting for ideas to come.
And it works!
My brain has been boiling over with new ideas for new things for me to work on, write on and speak on.
The funny thing is that it took almost 4 weeks of sitting on the island before the magic started to happen, and then the last 10 days or so, my brain exploded with ideas!
I think many people miss out on how creative they could be because they do not give themselves enough time of “breathing out time” for this magic to happen.
Imagine if they did.
Many people will tell you that they do not have the time to take time off to just sit on a rock somewhere and wait for ideas.
I SAY: If you did take that time to just sit on a rock, you would come up with much better ideas that would make you much more productive for the rest of the year.
It is like what they say about meditation: “Everyone should meditate for 20 minutes, except the people who do not have time to do it; they should meditate for 40 minutes“. 😉
Bill Gates took time off his busy schedule when running Microsoft to go on “thinking weeks”.
Richard Branson spends a lot of time on his island.
Edison is said to have left his lab to go fishing from time to time because that is where he got his best ideas.
If these people could to it, so could you.
Now here comes an important add-on. Only sitting on a rock will not give you great ideas. You also need to make sure you give your brain plenty of new inspirations to work with.
So tomorrow, I am leaving this beautiful island to go back to travelling the world.
In the next few months, I will travel to Singapore, America, Denmark, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Croatia, Switzerland, Hong Kong and a few more places I can not remember right now. I know that those trips will bombard my mind with things I had no idea about – things that will then become new ideas the next time I take time off to do nothing.
Creativity – a constant motion of breathing in inspiration and breathing out ideas.
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