I have been so wrapped up in the doing of life that I forgot to make time for creative thinking that leads to the kind of innovation and forward planning I’m looking for. That needed to change, so I have left London and am spending time in Scotland re-writing my rules of how to do life.
I’ve come through an insanely busy start to the year with back to back filming, travelling, blogging, training, all doing... I realised the doing of life is just the surface level stuff, but engaging with our drivers and key motivators is the hard stuff that’s underneath the surface and underpins everything else.
Making Meaningful Change
I know how tough it is if you feel unfulfilled in life, you know you want to make a change but you don’t know where, what or how. The answer is not filling your life with more doing, it’s finding a way to connect, think and create so you can plan your next steps.
My overall conclusion is that we need to slow life down and find our catalyst. The catalyst leads to insight (creative thinking), and action, which is the route to meaningful change. If you want to make a change and unleash your creative thinking but don’t know where to start, start with finding your catalyst. If you don’t know what your catalyst is, ask yourself this question “what one thing makes me feel most alive when I do it?” Go do that.
Reactive vs Proactive
A lot of my life is reactive. I react to what’s coming through my inbox and say yes or no to opportunities. All of last year was like that, but this year is different and I feel I can now take a step back and think hard about what’s coming next.
Pressing Pause on Life
The creative thinking I’m hoping for doesn’t just happen. It’s something we need to work on and invest time and energy into just like everything else that’s important to us.
Whilst I appreciate that it may not be possible for you to press pause on life and retreat to the highlands of Scotland, or your own equivalent, here are my top tips for creating time to pause and unleash creative thinking in everyday life:
Observation is key for opening your mind. I love being outside because it gives me an opportunity to observe the small details of life and thus opens my mind to the wonder of the world around us. With more time to think and feel, I can observe my thoughts, emotions and motivations which makes me more self aware.
2. Un-busy yourself
Creative thinking does not arise from a busy life. You need to slow things down and get bored a little! My most creative thinking happens when I don’t have a million things occupying my mind, late at night or whilst out running or cycling on my own. Don’t get busy, focus on being engaged with what you are doing.
3. Don’t rush it
Whatever you do, do not force or rush your creative thinking. You have to tease it out of you, like anything that’s worth having. Imagine it’s a rare breed of bird hiding in a hole, you need to coax it out and treat it with the grace and appreciation it deserves
4. Make Mind Maps
Find a space where you can go and put a pause on life for 15 minutes. Don’t look at your phone, grab a blank piece of paper and some coloured pens. Write one or two words in the middle of the page that is the context for your mind map and start writing. There are NO RULES! This is your mind map, write whatever is on your mind. Group them together into headings and watch the inspiration flow!
4. Find your catalyst
I focus on the things that engage me with the world and ignite my creativity. I read, think, walk, run, cycle, brainstorm. I sit and do nothing for 15 minutes in a space that feels relaxing. I love grabbing my notepad and making mind maps of whatever is on my mind. There is always a catalyst and for each of us this is different, you need to explore and find out what yours is to unleash your creative thinking and start planning your next step.
5. Focus on one task at a time
I am so often multitasking; sending emails as I walk, eating as I travel or doing my social media on the go. It’s not the way I want to live. It’s been so refreshing to focus on one thing at a time and not rush the simple acts in daily life
Have fun folks! You have to fight for the life you believe you deserve with everything you've got. I hope following my journey shows you that everything and anything is possible, but the only person who is going to make it happen is YOU. No excuses!