What is the first step ? Do you wonder what starts you out ? I’ve heard from several friends that have read this blog and one of the first questions I get is… “How do you figure out what to write?” Some ideas are set in motion through things that I read about and it gets me thinking… Others, I seem to stumble upon them. And some ideas just come to me. Almost as if they come bubbling up… and, I use the term “bubbling up” very specifically. Recently I saw a program called Horizon, produced by the BBC and on the show the scientists indicated that there were two types of brain functions. One of those functions is an excitatory function and this is where the scientists think that our creative or our creativity comes out of. And there is another called an inhibitory type function that suppresses, and that this acts as a type of balance. One without the other would be disastrous for us.
However, how do you suppress the suppressive (or inhibitory) function and allow your mind to think openly and freely ? I don’t have an answer for that. However, with out some inhibitory or restraint, we could have a great idea, but we would lack any focus to actually follow through with this idea without an inhibitory to keep it in check. We would be in a perpetual state of flowing ideas, but with no conviction to execute those ideas.
One other thing I learned is that we all have what is called a Latent inhibition. Think of it as a way for us to filter out the noise of our world. This latent inhibition helps us focus on what we think are the important signals, and to help guide us. For example: picture yourself walking down a side-walk along a busy street. Without latent inhibition, you wouldn’t be able to walk down the side-walk. Why ? The approaching car(s) on the street would likely command your full attention, and only allow you to only focus on the most immediate danger (think fight or flight). However, for most of us we can just filter out the cars and all the noise and several other things. So good is our latent inhibition ability, that we may not even notice there are cars streaming past us as we walk down the side-walk. Don’t believe me, go try it for yourself.
Think of it this way… better yet, let’s try an experiment. I’m going to give you some instructions, and then I’m going to tell you stop. Stop reading this blog.
The objective is to see what comes into your mind. Ok, here are the instructions:
What do you see ? a girl, riding on a train, mountains… sure but did you notice her hair blowing in the wind, can you imagine the smells ? is she happy to be going on her journey, or is she sad to be leaving someone behind ? What kind of a story is behind the photo ?
2) Can you form in your minds-eye what is going on… can you start to craft a story here ?
3) Ok, Stop Reading this blog and craft a story…
4) What was your story ? Don’t worry, there is no right or wrong story here.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter what story you crafted…. but
Congratulations ! You have started to think freely. In your childhood years, this would have been called using your imagination. However, in adulthood, we often think that this childhood play and imaginative thinking is exactly that, childish. I think it’s quite the opposite. I think that if we can parcel out some time to be creative (or to smell the roses), then the ideas will come bubbling up. The only thing about the ideas bubbling up is that sometimes, if you are observant to the ideas, some of the ideas are quite ingenious. Think of it as being in the back seat. So letting the creative process flow and have the ability to just watch it. And that my friends is one of the easiest ways to start being creative.
Give it a try some time. Who knows where it’ll take you.