Tag Archives: Creativity

Unlocking Creativity

A poster hanging up in my building at work. Good advice!

Humans are innately creative. The problem is that most people do not discover the context in which they are creative.

If you spent a lifetime as an accountant you might not discover a deep talent for the guitar and music unless you stumbled upon it at a young age and kept at it.

Our current education systems do not make it easy to explore the full range of one’s abilities and interests…and find that place where creativity runs deep. Perhaps this is why some of the most successful people I have ever met didn’t do particularly well at school, they were bored and sought to apply there energy elsewhere. Many businesses are even worse.

It’s also incredibly easy to be “typed” early in your career.

If you are seen as a financial or “numbers” type, it can be very difficult to re-brand yourself as a “creative” type. Some teams and companies are good about moving people into different functions and giving people varied projects (I think Microsoft excels at this).  This is not normal though.

The onus really is on the individual to explore with purpose and try new things. Take up new sports regularly. Learn new skills. Take advantage of electives at school and really take them seriously. Try different projects at work….and occasionally make a job change on purpose.

You never know where you might strike a creative vein.


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.

Unleash your creativity

Creativity defined means the creation of something new that is of value. I’ll boil it down to two words, NEW and VALUABLE.

Spending time reading books, blogs and videos in an effort to stay up to date and informed is one method to spark inspiration and creativity. In my own experience however, my most creative (i.e. new and valuable) thoughts come not from the outside but from the inside. The things I am most proud of creating during my life were most often the result of a sudden stroke of insight or slow emergence from nothing at all. Not from a deluge of information.

When I spent days meditating alone in that cabin, my creative fire was stoked bright and hot. When I am running or hiking in the wilderness I have more ideas than I know what to do with.

It’s easy to get “hung-over” from trying to keep up with several newspapers, a dozen magazines and the fire-hose of information from Twitter and all the techno-blogs (especially for those of us in the tech industry!). It’s therefore quite comforting to know that the way to unleash creativity is NOT by drowning in information, but in taking away extraneous information so you can begin to tap into the creative this is latent within you.

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3 Original Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Image Source: http://www.vectordiary.com/

It’s now the season where people run to their nearest malls – to empty their savings – all in an attempt to make other people happy. Giving is fantastic, but there is a better way to do it than just racking up debt. Below are a few ideas that redefine what it means to give a gift.

In fact, you would think that the tough economic times we are in would curb some gratuitous spending, but the mall next to my home is still swarming this weekend. I wonder how many of the gifts that people receive over the holidays are actually used?

When I downsized earlier this year I was guilty of giving away many things that someone surely spent good time and good money to purchase for me. I am not alone in this.

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