3 Essential Ingredients for Creative Inspiration

Ever had that one amazing idea when you’re on the verge of giving up?

The answer seems to come out of the blue, right?

And as soon as the answer arrives we know “ah, this is it!” better jot it down before that sucker disappears.

But, why does this happen?

It’s complicated of course, but if I could break down the practices that have helped me reach a more creative state of mind, I would list three and here they are. Maybe these will become your three essential ingredients …

1. Relax, my friend
We all need a recharge, but the state that really fosters creative insight is more about a completely relaxed state. When we’re NOT in front of the computer, work-obsessed or simply over caffeinated, our mind wonders. And soon enough, bammo, there’s that spark of an idea right out of the blue.

I think we all know the left hemisphere of your old noggin is the detail oriented side, the right? Well, it’s having a party all it’s own, dealing with associative elements like making sense of your uncle’s bad jokes, basically “connecting everything to everything else.” It is where intuition resides.

Steve Jobs was known to tap into his right brain through various practices, relying on a certain intuitive awareness to visualize products we now know and love. And moments of insight, like his, most often arrive when you’re in a relaxed state. When you quiet the mind and engage the right hemisphere. Some companies are beginning to understand that relaxed and happy employees solve more problems, because insights often come when we least expect them.

Want to be creative? Meditate. Go for a walk. Write free-form poetry. Don’t sit at your desk chugging coffee like a zombie. And if you want creative employees, let them relax.

2. Act like a kid
At Johns Hopkins University, researchers studied how jazz pianists create. Turns out just before they came up with an improvised melody (vs. one they had memorized), the part of their noodle that controls impulses (read: act like adults) is silenced and inhibitions disappear.

It’s almost like they flipped off the “serious” switch and got jiggy with their creativity, just like a 10-year-old.

Kids love to do this too, but at a certain point, they start to develop self awareness which inhibits inventiveness and artistry. And we all know what happens when we reach adulthood.

But imagination does NOT have to decay with age. The decline of creativity over time has more to do with culture. Things become routine, habits develop and creativity is lost. So the old adage “act like a kid” has some credence and is something we should embrace.

3. Seek solitude
People come up with remarkable ideas by themselves more often than you would think. And it turns out group brainstorming is highly overrated. In fact, seclusion brings forth inspiration and imagination.

Just like I said above, that old noggin needs time to recharge. And alone time will crank your creativity into high gear. There is power in solitude and good old peace and quiet.

So, do you want to make things happen? To improve you experience at work? At life? Learn to relax and tap into the right side of your brain? It helps if you act like a kid and a little seclusion is good for the creative soul.

Thing is. We all need a little creative inspiration from time to time. And these three practices have helped me immensely.

I’d love to know what you think and how you get those creative juices flowing, so please let me know in the comments below.

What are your thoughts on group brainstorming vs. alone time?

Have any of the above practices worked for you?

Do you meditate. How do you tap into the right side of your upper story processor?