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Creativity comes from within not from external sources.

Some creative types like to surround themselves with external sources of inspiration. I’ve heard that personal development author Dr. Wayne Dyer is fond of working at a very large table in his office with dozens of books open. He darts around from book to book linking ideas together and coming up with new ones that he can map into his own books and future work.

In my workplace we keep all kinds of stuff (research insights, data charts, etc.) posted on office walls and in open spaces inspire people. We also have frequent meetings for people from different teams to come together and share information and discuss new ideas.

All those things are great, but I’ve still always believed that the most amazing creative breakthrough’s come from no external source at all. They come from within your own self. While walking around. While sitting in your office and working through a problem. While eating lunch. Etc.

In my last post I included a picture that I took from a cabin where I was doing an intensive meditation practice several years ago. I had zero distractions there (including no food!).

During that time I was most amazed to observe how clear and free-flowing my thoughts were. I noticed all kinds of things about my environment and my self that I never noticed before. I was noticing aspects of how my mind worked that I never before considered. My creativity and powers of perceptions seemed endless.

My belief is that the more external stimulation you have the tougher it is to tap into this inner creativity. It’s why I think people tend to get more work done while traveling on an airplane than when they are in an office. It’s why I’ve had some of my most long-lasting periods of focused creation after long yoga practices, bike rides, hikes or long runs.

The next time you think you are lacking some bit of information to help you with some great new piece of work (whether you are a developer, writer, musician, financier, etc.)….just remember that you probably have all the creative juice that you need within you. You just need to choose to tap into it.

Disconnecting from the internet helps too.

Picture from the same cabin I mentioned in my last post. I think this was day #3 of my 5 day meditation and fasting experience. Note the full moon.


  1. Marsha G says:

    Why do you think the current trend in office environmental design is all about open collaborative spaces? Cubicles are ridiculed in favor of everyone sitting side by side down a long table. I’m all for pin up spaces and open meeting spaces but feel it’s going too far. I need quiet and a chance to focus. Instead we are forced to wear earbuds plugged into our ipod/Zune to disconnect from the activity around us. I wonder if others feel this way. Your post touched on the reasons I think it will prove counter productive in the end.

    • YogiRavi says:

      I think open spaces are great for collaboration and getting things done across teams. However, when it comes to framing a problem, getting a project off the ground or doing real creative work (writing or other tasks that are more solitary) – I find they can be less than helpful. I usually do my best creative work in the mornings for this reason. Less distraction.

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