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Broaden Your Creative Horizon

Broaden Your Creative Horizon

It was recently that I came across the term ‘tech fasting’ which has become common these days.  The term relates to a unique experience wherein, the whole family takes a break from using all the gadgets and keeps themselves away from technology to spend some days in the lap of nature. The experiences shared by people who underwent this experience were very interesting. In our day-to-day lives, most of us will definitely admit that we are obsessed with our devices.

We brag on our ability to multitask simultaneously—whether it be reading, working, mailing, replying to a text, checking Facebook, watching a video clip, talking on the phone, driving a car, enjoying family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! We will never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, or the unheard conversations at the table.

In most cases, we are not even actually multitasking, rather we are switching between the tasks rapidly. Even in this so-called ‘fast-developing world’, we need to admit that we live in a world full of distractions and that’s why I am pretty sure that many of you are maybe impatient to read this article fully as your smartphones are calling you! (joking ☺).  At the same time, this is a world of possibilities too for those who are here meaningfully.

Invading our creative space

The result of many studies suggests that the time spent doing nothing or being inactive can be beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity. With smartphones in our hands, we might be continuously engaged on a tiny screen, and hence, we may simply never get bored. And our creativity suffers. 

When we spend so much of our free time online, by not allowing our thoughts to drift away, what happens is that our creative space is hampered and this can limit our full potential.

The constant vibrations of our phone give a constant feeling of crowded space even when we are physically alone.  These days, unplugged places are hard to find. Even parks and campgrounds now offer Wi-Fi—the idea being that people won’t get outdoors if they can’t tweet. What used to be ‘fun’ has become a ‘joyless compulsion’.

Even Facebook and Instagram are getting a range of new tools to help people spend less time on social networks. They’ve been designed with the help of experts and users, for keeping experiences on the networks positive.

I think the advent of the internet has definitely discovered and encouraged some amazing new platforms for being creative. I appreciate my ability to Google things for a reference point, but that doesn’t make me more creative.

I already had an image in my head and had the ability to draw. I agree that our beloved gadget is productive in many ways, for e.g., it helps us connect to the external world, but does this increased productivity lower one’s creativity?

Nature – The balancing agent

Studies reveal that a kid living in the city, on average spends 53 hours a week using gadgets. They are often plugged into some kind of electronic medium, and I imagine that’s true in the case of adults too. The more tech-friendly we become, the more we need nature as a balancing agent. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature is good for our physical and mental health.

Recently research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that walking in a city park or any green space, for as little as 25 minutes is enough to give rest to our brain, thus boosting our cognitive functions. When the prefrontal cortex (the region of the brain involved in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making, and moderating social behavior) quiets down, the brain’s default mode network kicks in.

Suddenly, flashes of insight come to us. It’s activated when we’re not focusing on anything specific, but are engaged in non-taxing activities, such as walking in the woods or sitting under a tree. Our minds are allowed to idly wander or to delve deep into the storehouses of emotions, ideas, or memories.

Today’s world is constantly bombarding our minds with information, most of which are not useful to us. Due to this noise made by our minds, it becomes impossible to hear our inner voice. When we remove these distractions, our mind is free to wander, leading us to new exciting journeys that reveal many undiscovered paths.

Results of another interesting experiment showed that even low ceilings unconsciously activate thoughts of confinement, which causes the brain to think in analytic and concrete ways. Whereas high ceilings unconsciously activate thoughts of freedom, which causes the brain to think in abstract ways.

Nature, of course, has no ceiling. So, when we are out in the open air, it helps our mind to “think outside of the box” and “shoot for the stars.” Nature does the act of rebooting the overloaded brain. 

The mind and body function on opposite laws. More the effort you put in physically, the better the results would be. By being creative, one can achieve great results with very minimum effort.

Creativity need not necessarily mean that we invent something fantastic. Someone can be creative even about even how they are going to sweep the floor. If we develop the means to truly observe what is happening within us on all levels of who we are, then we would be enormously creative. Only when the mind is calm and relaxed, the ideas spring out. If we have forgotten something, and the more effort we put into remember that, the longer it takes for us to remember.

The sooner we let go of things, the faster the ideas come. The three aspects which are integral for the success of any action are Perception, observation, and expression – they can only blossom when our mind is well-rested. Another aspect is by observing deep silence, which is often called the mother of creativity. 

The very basic step in developing a creative idea starts from the process of thinking. So, it is very important for us to probe into the source of thought. Human beings are said to be great thinkers, but what is a thought?

A thought can be called an impulse of energy and intelligence. For that impulse of energy and intelligence to arise and a correct thought to bloom, we need 16  impulses to meet at a point in the cerebral cortex at a certain speed. How can we make it happen? We need to train our minds to ensure the free flow of thoughts.

There are continuous conversations that take place in our minds. It’s like we have a filter in our mind, through which we listen and accept only that we already know and agree according to our beliefs. When something comes which doesn’t fall within our belief systems, it gets filtered out. One of the main blocks of creativity is this tendency in the mind.

Let’s not be too much ambitious! Let’s find the path for us

Mostly when people talk about the word ‘creativity, it is often connected to artists, great painters, etc. But not everybody can be a painter – and there is no need for it also. If everybody is a  painter, the world would be monotonous. But everybody can be creative in their own ways.

We are all different and this difference itself makes us unique and creative. “Whatever things we do, if we do it joyfully and lovingly, without aiming for an economical gain, it is creative. Usually, we are told to be ambitious. But when one person is always thinking of his ambition, his creativity might disappear – because an ambitious man cannot be always creative, as he might not be able to love any activity for its own sake.

We have to flush out the belief that we are uncreative. We might not be a gold medallist in the university; or we might not be the topper in our class; our painting might not have won much appreciation – but just because of these things, we don’t have to believe that we are uncreative. 

We undermine ourselves because we are trying to imitate others. We have to find out what we can do and what we cannot do. Everybody cannot do everything. One might have to search and find destiny to find the real ‘you. Initially, we might have searched in wrong directions i.e., in paths where we are not creative, but there will necessarily be a path where we are creative. And we need to take efforts to find the direction to this path.

When we tune ourselves to get connected with nature, we feel that even trees are creative, rocks are creative and everything else in this universe is creative. We human beings are endowed with an intellect that makes us the most evolved beings on this earth.

Each man comes into this world with a specific destiny: he has something to fulfill, some message to deliver, some work to complete. Each of us is not here accidentally, we are here for a purpose. There is a purpose behind everyone being here. Let’s Seek and continuously search until we find it. 

Gopakumar P 
Life Coach | Career Mentor | Motivational Speaker

Gopakumar P

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