When I worked in the global public relations industry, I was frequently invited to high level creative brainstorms. The advertising behemoths would arrive from Paris, the digital dudes would fly in from Berlin. And we would all put our heads together to find the perfect solution to the clients’ impossible brief.
Sometimes these sessions would go on for hours.
The thinking was intense.
And in those moments, I would often follow my inner guidance, get up from the table and walk away.
I’d make an excuse to go to the bathroom or get some water. Whatever it took to escape.
And then I really would go to the bathroom or get some water. I’d do something, anything, to stop my mind processing the problem.
It was in those moments of complete detachment from the challenge that an embryo of creative wisdom would emerge.
In other words, when I stopped thinking about the problem, the answer just showed up.
I used to take this gift for granted, thinking I was some kind of creative genius. But recently I realised how arrogant this perspective is.
Because consider this…
Where does creativity actually come from?
I’ve Googled it and there doesn’t seem to be any set answer. Even the neuro-scientists can’t agree which part of the brain generates creative thinking.
I believe creative thinking doesn’t come from the brain at all. It comes from somewhere way more magical.
When you try to crack a creative brief from your mind, it can be limiting. If you’re feeling under pressure, chances are that you’ll be operating from the survival part of the brain. That will generate a solution for you, but it will have come from a place of fear and therefore is less likely to be as ambitious or spectacular as you might like.
If you are feeling relaxed, your pre-frontal cortex may be analysing the challenge. It too will generate a solution, and this one will have come from a place of logic. It will do the job and tick all the boxes, but it probably won’t set the world on fire with its creative expression or unlimited potential.
So which part of the brain do you think from if you want to be a creative genius?
You don’t think at all.
You get up and walk away.
And you allow an entirely different part of your existence to do what it does best.
Existence is the natural expression of creation.
You, at your very essence, are creation.
And if you are the embodiment of creation, it means your source energy is creativity itself.
No matter who you are, or how un-creative you consider yourself to be, the truth is that you already have within you all the creative power you could ever need.
You ARE creativity.
So how do you access your inherent power?
You stop thinking. You walk away. You let the natural reservoir of ideas, that already is your essential nature, flow into your conscious mind.
I invite you to try this strategy and see how effective it is.
What I’ve discovered since deepening my mindfulness practice is that you don’t even have to physically leave the room.
You can mentally walk away from the brainstorm by using this 20 second technique…
Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, imagine ALL your thoughts being breathed out through your nose or mouth.
Literally picture all your thoughts being exhaled, being given back to the Universe – if you like.
Continue with this process until you notice a satisfying, soft emptiness in the space of your mind.
Focus only on this.
For a minimum of five seconds, or as long as you can, explore this space.
What qualities does it have?
Is it a shape? A color?
Does it have any boundaries?
Or is it limitless?
Keep your attention here for as long as you can.
Then just stay still.
Let the brainstorm rage on around you.
You stay silent in the essence of your creation.
And allow the natural genius to emerge.
All the answers are within you.
Your only job is to give them the space to be heard.
Sit with this for as long as you can but if it gets too distracting, you can always revert to the old-fashioned strategy of going to the bathroom or getting some water.
Whether you choose to physically walk away or mentally walk away is down to personal preference.
What is non-negotiable is that you remove yourself from the problem to let your Self provide unimaginable creative solutions.