If you have a real passion for what your work – an omnipresent desire to improve and master your area, then you most likely have encountered the frustration that comes when progress seems to slow down.
Maybe you have been focusing on a specific area and searching for a solution that seems fleeting. Or perhaps you have created an innovative product or service, but are facing many challenges on how to accomplish and promote it.
We all experience this sensation of overwhelm and anxiety when we run into a creative brick wall, especially when we feel that we are on the brink of success.
So what tips can help us dig deep, inspire creativity, and achieve our goals? Most likely, the solution you are looking for will come from the most unexpected places.
John Keats, a romantic poet in the 19th century, originally coined the term “negative capability”. He was describing the ability of famous writers, such as Shakespeare, to pursue their vision even when it led them to intellectual confusion and uncertainty.
If there is one thing that scares us as humans, it’s uncertainty. The need to create formulas, have the facts, and know the outcome before it happens helps protect us from harm.
However, the ability to develop, think and operate in uncertainty while keeping the larger vision in mind will help you to receive the solution rather than exhaust yourself searching.
Question the preconceived notions you currently hold about the subject and embrace the mystery of the challenge at hand.
When we are stuck in a creative rut, it’s easy to get impatient. One of the best ways to neutralize impatience is to condition ourselves to enjoy the process and endure the pain that comes with trial and error – just as an athlete learns to enjoy practice and pushing their limits.
Instant gratification is addicting but a poison in terms of having satisfaction with your work long-term. When you learn to enjoy the process instead of the outcome, you will be happier, which will lead to producing better results.
Allow for Serendipity
Albert Einstein was never the best student growing up, and always had difficulty expressing his ideas in a practical way. In fact, when he was working at the patent office, he nearly gave up on his Theory of Special Relativity. Then, as he was walking with a colleague one day discussing a similar topic, it surprisingly came to him.
If you have laid the groundwork, studied your subject, explored alternatives and have experimented, then you need to give yourself open-ended time to develop a wide understanding of topics that relate to your field.
Alter Your Perspective
- If you have been looking at the what, try focusing more on the how.
- If you have been focusing on the micro, try understanding the macro concepts and implications.
- If you have been working in terms of numbers and figures, try exploring charts and artistic representations.
- If you have been trying to find something you think is there, try focusing on what’s missing.
Sherlock Holmes was able to solve a mystery by identifying what did not happen. The dog did not bark…therefore the suspect must have been someone the victim knew.
It was only when Einstein was introduced to a new perspective that his idea came to fruition.
I think in today’s society, we have less and less people exploring new and creative ideas – making new things and developing new processes. I believe in part, that is due to the need for instant gratification, lack of enjoyment in the creative process, narrow perspectives .
If you truly want to make a difference in your area of expertise and become a master at what you do, it’s going to take extending your already deep knowledge of the subject matter into new branches and synthesizing that new information with multiple points of view.
Give your creative mind a moment to breath and explore new, inspiring subject matter and activities. The answer you are searching for will most likely come to you from a most unexpected place!