Don’t look down! 6 ways to avoid falling into the creativity chasm

July, 31st 2017Simon Tomes

I recently ran a workshop on creativity. I pondered how to collaboratively explore something that’s innate but often perceived as something not all of us possess. I decided to shine a light and offer up some triggers.

In this post you’ll learn some of those triggers. They'll help amplify creativity. You’ll discover something about yourself when you peer into the creativity chasm.

Creativity when we least expect it

When I was 16 I wrote my first ever song. I shared it with my band and they tore it to pieces. It took a while to put that song together and a little longer to have the courage to share it. But it took 14 years to get over the ridicule and embarrassment of my first attempt.

I was the drummer at the time and I’d defined myself as only that. How could I write a song and contribute? How could I ever write my second song after the feedback I got for my first?   

Fast forward and I’m playing with music technology at home, tinkering with song ideas. Rapidly producing song after song, enjoying the experience without too much expectation — sharing amongst my friends who happen to enjoy them. It was “in play” that I became my most creative.

Something interesting happens with creativity. Have you ever noticed that the best ideas seem to happen in those moments where you’re making a cuppa or in the shower or going for a walk? A creative solution pops into your head when you least expect it. When we stop thinking about it, we give our brains some space and creative things happen. When we’re so focused on something our minds close up. The imbalance of focus is creativity’s worst enemy.

Awareness of the chasm

Creativity requires courage. It’s the creativity chasm that stops us in our tracks. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Edward de Bobo reminds us “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

The chasm is smaller if we step back. Observe the thoughts from a safe distance. We’ll soon realise that the chasm exists for everyone. We all have similar creative fears and that’s ok. We can help each other embrace those fears.

Six creativity triggers to step back from the chasm

1. Get Sh*t Done

My business partner, Rajit, shares five incredible ways to get sh*t done. You gotta check ‘em out! Their practical application amplifies creativity.

2. The Pebble

Go find a pebble. A small smooth one! Keep it near you at all times. If you’re stuck just shift focus to the pebble. Do it for 30 seconds. Then come back to what you’re doing.

3. Help someone you don’t know

Help someone random. This could be in person or online. It’ll help you step into someone else’s shoes. There’s a wonderful connection between creativity, empathy and kindness.

4. Inspire yourself and be inspired

Grab this ultra-collaborative idea generation technique. It gives everyone the permission to contribute.

5. Mix up your habitat

The environment you’re in has a profound effect on your creativity. Mix it up, work on another desk, work in a cafe, in the park. Work in a different part of your home. See things from another perspective.

6. Yes! And …

How easy is it for us to shoot down our own ideas and the ideas of others? Instead of saying “Yeah, but … ” try “Yes, and … ”. Extend an idea and take it on a journey. It’s a very collaborative technique.

There’s a choice

Know that we’re not alone and that it’s normal for our minds to “freeze up” when we’re trying too hard to be creative. We can either dive into the chasm or step back and observe it for what it is.

Main photo image: Tanvi Malik