Prerna is a thinker, observer, reader & writer. She is always curious to learn. She is a strong believer in human potential.
Creativity is the most precious asset of the human mind and innovation is the decisive characteristic of our history. Many great geniuses, most creative people’s masterpieces were done in silence.
Creativity flourishes in solitudeand can’t make room in a chattering world or being surrounded by people or gadgets.
You can benefit from interacting and brainstorming with others, but awesome creative work can be achieved by shutting out the outside world, whilst you insanely focus on your craft.
But in the current scenario, the focus is the biggest challenge for human beings. When we are not engaged on call, this miniature computer that we all carry restrain us with never-ending personal and news updates. We all have experienced how a quick glance at the notification, turns into a 30-minute session. That’s why techniques to stay focused are the hallmark of every spiritual tradition.
Modern communication technology and social media have taken the game to a whole new level. Now we have all the information, updates, News in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, while we may think constant content consumption is making us smarter and faster, but the reality is just opposite to it. Why? Research has shown that the brain is like a muscle- it changes and gets stronger when you use it. And like any muscle, if you focus only on information input and no practice, it becomes difficult to force your brain to produce any output.
Jonathan Smallwood, a psychologist has measured this imbalance through research that seems to find a troubling link between distraction and creativity. Thus, it is important to balance the input and output.
Research demonstrates, rather than being a moment of idle and focused on input, one should de-couple the attention from external information. It is advised to focus on self-generated thoughts and feelings when the environment is not demanding.
In other words, It’s probably not a big surprise that mind-wandering augments creativity—particularly “divergent thinking,” or being able to come up with novel ideas. As a more recent study found, mind-wandering improved people’s creativity above and beyond the positive effects.
So, a wandering mind, once thought to be a detrimental characteristic of the unfocused, is actually one of the traits we need to encourage of one another.
Say no to others, create that space to produce and feel well about oneself doing so is at the heart of Charlie Chaplin’s poem -
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is ‘Love of Oneself”.
Always fascinated by human behavior, I have a habit of observation and I love observing people, in fact, everything. It helps me reconnect with myself, my thoughts and provided a huge boost to my ability to write.
For a good amount of time, my life has been spent with kids. So, my observation is usually around them. In fact, I will say ‘look around and you will see life’s learning at each step’.
Recently I had the chance to stay with my niece for quite a long time. Due to lockdown, my 6-year-old niece had nothing much to do, TV & mobile had taken a huge space in that period. One day, my sister took all the gadgets from her. She also switched off the TV. She wanted to give her a break from all these things. For quite some time my niece sat idle, then she starting saying, what should I do now? I am getting bored. Her mommy was firm on her decision.
After some time from what I saw, all the toys came out of the cupboard. The kid started playing on her own. Games were played manually rather than watching someone playing them on Youtube. She pondered the options. She did cycling, she played with her toys. She even created a nice house for herself and her dolls.
To my surprise, she created her own imaginary world. She opened her toy laptop started working like her mom. Then she called her friends with her toy phone and was talking like we do with our friends. She created her shop and was doing fantastic business. Selling, marketing everything she knew. Thus, whatever she learned from seeing, observing she was now applying it.
I would suggest you try this with your kid and you will be amazed to see which all things they already know. And why only kids try it on yourself too. Switch off the input sources for some time and see what’s the outcome of it? Unleash your creative and innovative side by self-generating thoughts and feelings.
To summarize, when we decouple ourselves from the external information we start self-generating thoughts. We poured with new ideas and new ways to do it. So, it will not be wrong to say staying away from the constant content consumption leaves us with more space for intrinsically motivated, creative actions.
For some time if you can resist the temptation of the sweet, jolly, sugary like notifications on your phone and give your mind the balanced diet it needs, you will find you have far more creativity than you imagined.
Moving into solitude, at times, can be a good start for your creative and innovative side. That’s why the ideas you have in the shower are so different from the ideas you have at work—you’re a pinch more close-minded at the office.
The recent example you would have seen in the period of lockdown. Creativity and Innovations were ringing loud.
A quote by Warren Buffet very precisely summarizes this screamingly obvious yet often ignored fact –
‘The difference between successful people and really successful people is those really successful people say no to almost everything.’
© 2021 Prerna Dhulekar