“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” - Bill Moyers
You’re lethargic, exhausted and the week looms ahead as an intolerable grind. But you’re also exercising, working toward your goals, and keeping your values in the forefront. So, what gives?
There are lots of names for it -- burn out, the daily grind, fatigue, weariness -- but what you need is new motivation and inspiration to keep going. Maybe you’ll keep going in the same way, but newly energized, maybe your inspiration will drive you forward in an entirely new way.
But regardless, you’re in need of a push, but where will it come from?
Ancient Greeks and Romans believed inspiration and creativity came from the outside, muses and daemons, visited and delivered what artists needed to bring a unique and compelling perspective to their work. Nowadays we predominantly believe that creative energy comes from within, although the Author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, encourages us in this TEDX talk to reconsider the creative force as still existing outside of ourselves.
Regardless of whether this creative power lives within or without, the key to ascending the daily grind is tapping into it. What do artists and successful people do to unleash their creativity?
Here are some lessons from the masters:
Albert Einstein - His inspiration was music, art and thinking in imagery, according to this article at Psychology Today -- Einstein on Creative Thinking. "If I were not a physicist," he once said, "I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.... I get most joy in life out of music." He believed that music led his thoughts in new and creative directions.
Ray Bradbury -- Got inspiration by reading his contemporaries and looking to others in his field of writing. This might seem more like research than creativity, until you hear him speak about the process. He went to fairy tales, children’s books, and wandered libraries to wait for something to grab him from the shelves. He said, “I go in blindly and reach up on shelves and take down books and open them and fall in love immediately.”
Salvador Dali -- This Surrealist artist tapped into his dreams for creativity. According to this article, Salvador Dali’s Creative Thinking Technique, Mr. Dali, much like Edgar Allen Poe, liked to access the REM sleep dream world. Poe wrote of the "fancies" he experienced "only when I am on the brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so." Dali, would relax in a chair while holding a spoon over a tin plate. As he would begin to doze, the spoon would fall, clatter and wake him just as he began to dream.
Sting -- Talks at length in this TEDX talk about how he found his writing voice again after a long time feeling blocked. In short, he found inspiration and new creativity by being mindful of what was around him in the moment, which led him to the shipyards in his neighborhood and a journey back to his childhood history to inspire a new album.
So where will you find creative force? Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to tap into a new and compelling perspective.
As Steve Jobs says, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.”