Change of PACE + Change of PLACE = Change of Perspective.
That is my formula for fresh ideas. It’s so easy to get into a mental rut isn’t it? Once we’ve been in an environment for a while we stop noticing things. Psychologists call it inattentional blindness. We lose our ability to see things from the vantage point of a guest. And when that happens, we lose our creative edge. So how do we get it back? One of the simplest ways is changing pace or changing place.
Sometimes all it takes is a mental vacation. Edison used to get some of his best ideas after a nap. Sometimes visiting a different environment can get us new eyes. I still notice everything about every church and coffeehouse I visit. I’m always doing reconnaissance! The brilliant book, Geeks and Geezers, talks about great leaders being first-class noticers. We naturally notice more when we’re in a new environment because our reticular activating system is on red-alter. I love doing off-site meetings because where your butt sits affects how your brain thinks! I think trips to new places can wake us up to new realities that help us see our old reality differently! For some reason, some of my best ideas happen at 30,000 feet when I’m on an airplane.
Here are a few ideas to jump-start your right-brain:
1. Set your alarm two hours earlier than normal.
2. Visit an art gallery
3. Do a 24-hour silent retreat
4. Read a book on a topic you know nothing about.
5. Do a ten-minute stream of consciousness writing exercise.
There are dozes of other mechanisms to jump-start creativity, but you need to figure out what works for your personality. Routines are healthy and holy. In fact, we call them spiritual disciples. But once the routine becomes routine, you need to break the routine!
The French writer, Jacques Réda, had a peculiar habit. He used to walk the streets of Paris with the intention of seeing one new thing each day. It was the way he renewed his love for the city. That’s how we renew our love for anything!