Do you need that great idea right now? Does your mind feel like it’s in a fog that’s not lifting? Try these 5 exercises for 5 days and watch the fog disappear and the ideas appear!
Step #1 – “Stream-of-consciousness” exercise
Put pen to paper. Yes. Real paper and a real pen or some kind of writing device. Prepare yourself. You’re going to write 3 pages about whatever you’re thinking about – right now – on paper. Pen and paper work better than the keyboard, so find some paper and start writing!
Doing this the first thing in the morning is the very best thing! If you commute on mass transit, this is the perfect time!
This is a great time to write down what’s been on your mind, lingering there, just below the surface, annoying you. Yes. Write that down. Write down everything and anything that comes to mind.
If you get stuck, start writing a to-do list. I’ve found just by writing my list of “must-dos” other things surface.
This exercise should take 5-10 minutes, at best. Do this exercise every day for 5 consecutive days.
Step #2 The “what if” exercise
You’ll need another piece of paper to write down whatever comes into your mind when you ask yourself the question, “What if?” This is the big question and you need an answer!
This exercise allows your mind to take a short vacation by imagining the possibilities of anything without being censored. Yes. The sky is the limit! No editing!
You’ve got a problem. You’re looking for a solution. Try to fill the page with as many “what ifs” as you can! This should take 5-10 minutes at best.
What if I tried this? What if I did this, instead of that? What if I called “Joe” and asked his advice on this. What if I did nothing? What if I tried that again?
What if? What if??
Do this exercise once – on day one. If, on days 2-5 you think of something else to add to your “what if” list, add it!
Keep this list somewhere you can see it. (Nobody else has to see it, just you!).
Step # 3 The “read something” exercise
Do you have a book you’ve been meaning to read? You know the one. The one sitting on your desk (or Kindle) that you look at and say, “I need to read that!”
That’s the book I’m talking about! If you don’t have a book already, find a book you’d like to read.
I want you to read your favorite book every day, for 5 consecutive days, for 20 minutes every day, preferably in the morning. This will help you stay focused the entire day!
Reading heightens your brain connectivity. It actually rewires parts of your brain. Reading helps you solve problems, understand things and detect meaningful patterns.
Reading makes you emotionally intelligent, increases your attention span, focus and concentration.
Step #4 The “explore” exercise
You only have to do this exercise once in the 5 day period for this to work, but you must do it!
Have you driven by someplace and thought to yourself, “That place looks interesting. I need to check it out!”
This exercise requires you to “explore” something new. What are you curious about?
If you can’t think of anything you’d like to explore, just try something different like taking another route home from work.
You won’t need more than an hour’s commitment to this exercise, but it’s essential for your creative emergence.
What kind of place qualifies, you ask? I drove by this crazy place all the time called “Skycraft.” It has some kind of rocket on the front of the building. I kept on asking myself, “What in the world is that place?” Finally, I took some time and went inside! I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was like finding buried treasure. Yeah, I had to hunt a bit, but it was so much fun! I can’t tell you how many “treasures” I’ve found there!
That’s the kind of exploring I want you to do. Just once. This week. Take an hour. Go explore somewhere new. It will be fun. You’ll thank me later!
Step #5 The “get outside” exercise
This will only take you 20 minutes and can be done on a lunch break. You need to do this 20 minute exercise for all 5 days.
I want you to go on a walk by yourself for 20 minutes. Just allow yourself to “be” 100% in the moment with your thoughts. Just take in everything around you.
You need to be by yourself for this exercise to work so your mind can “process” everything you’ve thrown at it!
As my acting coach told me over-and-over again, “Just be!” (In the moment).
Hopefully, these 5 exercises in these past 5 days have opened up your mind and let those creative ideas come out of the fog into reality.
The ideas that have come to me, after doing these 5 exercises for 5 days, are seemingly, out-of-the-blue!
I’m never expecting the insights and ideas that come to me! I’m always completely blown-away, actually shocked at the ideas that hit me.
I’ve recognized – previously un-recognized patterns. I’ve come up with creative insights putting two disparate ideas together to make new ones. My list of “ah ha” moments go on-and-on.
I know! I can’t believe it works, but it does!
You might recognize part of this process from author Julia Cameron’s book(s) written for “blocked creatives.” She initially worked with blocked Hollywood script writers, then expanded her reach to include anyone who needed a creative boost.
I’ve taken Julia’s exercises and added a few of my own. I know this has worked for me over-and-over again. As an artist, I create 2 paintings a week, so I need to be constantly filling up my creative well.
If, for any reason, you didn’t get “the big idea” you needed, you can repeat the exercises for another 5 days. Usually this works fast, but occasionally, I’ve run into a few friends who had just completely shut down their creative side and it took longer than 5 days, but it ABSOLUTELY DOES work, so don’t give up!!!
I want to hear from you, so let me know how this worked for you and what happened!