BY CAROLYN JOHNSON
It occurred to me as I read the article, “Stimulate Your Creative Genius” by local authors Jeanine McGlade and Andrew Pek, how many uniquely creative people live in Rockland County. I wonder how much of that is coincidence and how much intentional? It seems that creative people seek the natural beauty and resources in this particular slice of our state offers. And perhaps the natural beauty stimulates creativity regardless of our intentions.
In their work on stimulating creative genius, McGlade and Pek suggest, among other things, creating an environment that is conducive to inspiration. For example, in the first three months following our move to a naturally abundant area in Rockland, from downstate New York, my husband Joe wrote a play, I wrote the first draft of a book, and our children’s singing, acting and musical talents took flight as well. Brushing shoulders with what McGlade and Pek call creative “types,” helps as well. I’ve met more actors, actresses, artists, writers, filmmakers, poets, musicians and celebrities of all kinds here in Rockland County than when I lived in Manhattan. McGlade and Pek’s work seems to suggest why this might be.
How do we create and allow the spaces we inhabit to nourish our creative capacities so that our life and work might better the world we inhabit? Perhaps McGlade and Pek can stimulate our thinking about these things, and start a conversation about how we live this out in our lives and our communities.
Write to us about the people and places that stimulate your creativity, at The Rockland County Times website or Facebook page, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stimulate Your Creative Genius
BY ANDREW PEK AND JEANNINE MCGLADE
Imagine yourself drawing inspiration and fresh insights from the world around you everyday. Imagine you, your family, friends and work colleagues surrounded by creativity, ideas and endless possibilities. Imagine a year in which your intentions become a reality easily and effortlessly.
After a holiday sprint that often consists of buying and wrapping presents, writing and sending out holiday cards, attending holiday parties, eating more than we should, planning and celebrating holiday events and visiting with family, it might be hard to imagine our intentions becoming a reality and feeling stimulated to achieve all those resolutions.
With a new, fresh year ahead of us it’s time to infuse our resolutions with some specific habits that will stimulate that creative part of ourselves and in essence, help us to achieve our intentions and goals. Whether it’s weight loss, mastering a new skill, or just getting out of bed not feeling exhausted, the habits we’ll review will help you draw that inspiration and give you the creative spark to keep at it.
These habits are not only easy to implement, but fun. And, research shows that if you are having fun with a new skill or task, you will get it done more effectively. Here they are: cultivating, scouting, playing, venturing and harvesting.
These five habits make up what we call the creative genius. This creative genius is that part of each and every one of us who is stimulated – full of excitement, energy and ideas. It is the part of each one of us that is possibilities–oriented, has a can-do attitude and a way of being that communicates to the world around us that anything is possible. When we adopt this attitude, we consistently explore ourselves and our environment, bring creative energy into our work, our interactions with others and our lives in general. And at the beginning of a new year, there is no better time to renew your commitment to and infuse some creative spark into your new year’s goals.
So let’s take a closer look at what each of these success habits are, and how you can embed them into your 2012 goals, plans and activities.
Pause for a moment and think about the places and spaces you frequent – how do you feel when you are there? What does it do for your energy and creativity? How is the vibe? And are you in tune with it?
Cultivating the right environment is the first essential habit in order to lead a more stimulated life. That practice of cultivating is about developing and experiencing places and spaces that will help you develop a creative state of mind – an inspired way of being where all things are possible. So here are some practical things you can do immediately to jump start your creative genius:
· Clear out the clutter in your home, your car and your workspace. There is nothing like a well organized, fresh, clean environment that immediately sends signals to the brain you are ready to take control of your life. The aesthetics of clean, streamline places will help give you the “space” you need to think creatively about your goals.
· Grab some paper and colored markers and write down three of your favorite quotes. Post them where you can easily and often see them. Visit a new environment – a museum, café, library or park and se how it makes you feel. How can you bring that same sort of stimulus into your everyday life?
To attract new sparks in your life – those moments where you get the seedling of an idea, feel excitement and passion for the possibilities, and propel your creative energy forward – we need to get out and about and make new discoveries. All too often we (and the rest of the world) operate on autopilot. We go through the motions of life and aren’t present in the moment as we go about our day.
Scouting forms the backbone of our creative anatomy. What is important about this practice is keeping your eyes wide open and immersing yourself in the experience at hand. Scouting is the time for total “ob-sorp-vation.” That is observing, being absorbed in and recording what it is that you see, hear, and read – not analyzing what those observations may mean. It is all about taking in different stimuli and seeing what sparks happen for you. Here are some quick ideas to start your scouting today:
· Get out and about – instead of working at your desk this morning, go to a local coffee shop and people-watch for a bit. See what sparks occur and how they might help you come up with new ideas.
· Journal. Record what you see, hear and read. Do this for several weeks and review your observations – any insights?
· Pick up a new magazine –one you normally don’t read. See what you can learn.
The results of applying your creativity to generate fresh ideas can be very serious. However, the process you use does not need to be. You can still get results if you inject play into the process to spark creative ideas and action. In organizations, few would consider that play is a legitimate way to spur business results. However, we do see play as serious business. Stimulating your creative genius and living a life of possibilities, needs a steady diet of fun, expression and imagination. Carl Jung once said, “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.” This play instinct is something we can all tap into. To add a little more fun and play into your life and your work, try these ideas:
· Watch a funny movie tonight when you get home – or better yet, play a game with your family. Notice your energy, observe your interactions and see what sparks may emerge, magically and spontaneously.
· Call the friend who always makes you laugh. Or think about the fun times you have (or had) with that person!
· Think of at least 100 uses for the chair you are sitting on right now. Go ahead, try it – the sillier the better.
Individuals who embody the venturing practice are risk takers, courageous and adventuresome. These individuals appreciate that during our creative journey there may be real or perceived risks and that making the leap with a creative idea takes courage and faith in ourselves and a passion for our pursuits.
In our lives and in our work – though frenetic at times, we hope and expect things to be clear, orderly and in control. The trouble is, clarity and order are not often the case especially when we are cultivating a creative mindset. It can be just the opposite and may call for behaviors that feel uncomfortable and risky at times. Venturing is about plunging in, experimenting with and pursuing your ideas with both feet. To stimulate a more creative life and to generate ideas that have the potential for breakthrough success, here are some things you can do to adopt a “venturing” habit and thoughtful risk-taking attitude:
· Do something today to advance an idea or spark that emerged from your cultivating and scouting activities. Call a friend, and talk about the idea and visualize how you feel and what will be different after having implemented the idea.
· Become an advocate for others’ ideas – be supportive and encouraging. Seek out other’s ideas and help them make the leap.
· Trust your intentions – don’t wory about exactness or the “right” answer. Next time you find yourself searching for certainty, take a leap of faith and trust your gut!
Harvesting – where you bring your creative ideas to life – is a continuous loop of creativity. It is about making sure you make your ideas real and celebrate the success of all of your creative venture, even the ones that may not necessarily turn out as you first imagined.
To boost your creative output we recommend three rituals to partake in on a regular basis:
· Be passionate. Think about the last ideas that you truly had excitement for. What was the idea? What was it about the idea that sparked such enthusiasm. How might you apply that same level of passion to your next creative venture?
· Recruit other “creative-types.” By recruiting other members in your creative activity is a healthy way to harvest a life of possibility and where anything you imagine you can achieve. Other people help to support, encourage and motivate you in achieving multiple successes. Surround yourself with people who will reinforce your creative impulses, not inhibit them. It is amazing how one negative thought or one negative person can thwart your creative endeavors.
· Celebrate your successes. Initiate a celebration committee at work or at home as a way to reinforce your efforts and encourage you to want to try new things, experience new opportunities and as result, create new possibilities.
So, there you have it – five habits that will help you infuse creative energy into your new year’s resolutions. And, who knows, maybe come up with a new idea that you weren’t expecting.
Andrew Pek and Jeannine McGlade are authors and coaches in the field of creativity and innovation. For more information, please visit www.ivibeglobal.com.