Most of my thinking I’m doing in the mornings. I developed a nice routine during which my hands and feet are doing the appropriate thing and my mind is able to run free. That’s when I get my best ideas – and then I got this mirror in mirror in mirror… encounter. While being at my most creative I sort of observed myself and thought: Well, I should write an article about ‘creativity’.

It might not throw a very nice light on the sanity of my mind, but this ‘observing me as if standing next to myself’ thing, happens rather often. My mum claims that this is because my zodiac is Gemini known as the twins, thus one part of me being able to stand next to the other, observing. Well, I’m not sure about that – or better be not sure about that, as the light shining on my mind changes to an even more awkward colour this very moment.


What does one need to be creative?

- and -

What is it good for, anyway?

I have written before about my review sessions at work and at home, and about this 'having to improve performance' and 'moving on to new shores, exploring new things' approach. And I have thrown myself into this assessment because it felt right at that moment in time and – again watching from the outside – I took it a bit as an experiment as well.

How far can one be pushed – or can one push oneself?

And now I’m pulling the break!

For any of those improvement activities one has to get creative. You don’t improve by sitting around and waiting for something good to happen. You have to throw yourself into situations you normally wouldn’t go into. You have to challenge yourself. And then, when you have dared diving into these awkward situations, you have to find ways to at least get out of there without loosing face. Thus the project itself might not have been a success, but at least you learned something. Or, Alas! You made it and you improved - visible not only to yourself, but to your boss as well.

Finding Ways

This 'finding ways' is what creativity is about. It occupies your mind and explores neural pathways never tried before. It has to find connections between knowledge which you never realised before. It has to dig out knowledge that has long been forgotten, some of it for a good reason.

To do all that, it is important to be able to stick with a subject for longer periods of time. Well, I got that with my morning routine, which allows me to have my thoughts flowing for about an hour – given that nothing else bothers me.

And that’s the snag. I only can do ONE of those things at a time! I thought I could do more, but I have to admit, I can’t.

When I threw myself into the development of a new role for my day job I felt like loosing it for the Incredible Ladies. Luckily, as it is a lifestyle guide, I could use a lot of the material here – and still do right now. Nevertheless, in 2 month time there will be another review, and then I will have reached a point where it might not just be about exploring options, but commitment to action. Meaning the actual diving into the dark and unexplored waters and having to struggle myself back to the surface.

If already the thinking about it almost made me lose my marbles, I definitely shouldn’t follow through. I will keep all the options in mind, and I might consider little steps into the one or the other direction, but I will not pursue the big dive.

Hence the skid marks behind my heels!

Keeping The Balls in The Game

To stay with the image of 'keeping the balls in the game' which I use in Reflection: Creativity is how high you can throw a ball, while keeping the rest of them in the game.

For that a good, safe level on which to juggle all the balls is needed – that’s the routine that has to be developed as described in Bringing it Together. Often routine is associated with boredom and considered to be the opposite of spontaneity. I had to learn the hard way that this is not true. I was so obsessed with not being bored - and boring - that I didn't even realise that I had become exactly that.

Whether you are going for the 'routine' approach, or the 'spontaneous' approach in life: At the end there will always be boredom! Except if you have somebody to clean the mess behind you.

However, there are two types of boredom: The good one and the bad one.

Spontaneity and Bad Boredom – The Killers of Creativity

Being spontaneous 24/7 inevitably will result in an inefficient way of dealing with the unloved daily tasks. They get interrupted and then have to be followed up on – that costs time. Brain capacity is wasted to remember it all and at the end of the day one might realise that not a lot of the enjoyable spontaneous things have actually happened. The chat with someone we don’t even like took a lot of time, and the trip to town didn’t bring nice clothes, but heartburn from that damn muffin that was meant to be a treat. One feels knackered from all the task swapping and the jobs pile up.

Bad boredom is caused by a pile of undone tasks that won’t allow nice and creative activities. Doing something nice would cause guilt; on the other hand the pile is so high that one doesn’t know where to start anymore. Thus more often than not one sits in front of the telly, is reading some rubbish or has to have a nap, because it’s all so exhausting and one deserves a break.

Routine and Good Boredom – The Breeding Ground for Creativity

Routine is to get the jobs that need been doing, done quickly and efficiently. This creates free time that needs filling.

Funnily enough: Although getting much more done since I developed my daily routine, I don’t need a rest with the telly or some junk journal anymore, and I rarely need a nap.

Good boredom is having actual free time. That is the boredom which is missing a challenge. That’s when you might decide on one ball of the game to be pushed a bit higher. You might have to practice, probably having to bring it back to ground level again, until you get another idea with which to push it.

Pushing a Ball

Although I don’t know how you feel about it and this might only be me: But I only can concentrate on one ball to be pushed in a game like this.

Eventually there will be a time where it feels comfortable to keep this ball a bit above routine level, so that the next task can be tackled. One might think that it might be trickier with this new constellation; however, there will be a learning effect from the first ball and that what will outweigh the challenge – at least to a degree.

The ball in my focus right now is the Incredible Ladies, and it will be for quite a while longer. It is a natural choice, as it is the ball I have a ‘passion’ for. As long as there is a single soul out there, reading what I’m knocking up, I will go on to push this thing.

Guess the day job will have to wait a bit longer.

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Author: Rika